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What is the reason behind using PPC tools, Do PPCers use any third-party tools, Which tools are their favorite, and more was discussed in this week’s PPCChat session.

Here is a recap of the discussion which was hosted by Julie F Bacchini,

Q1: Do you use any third party tools to help with your PPC management?

Yes. Am using Adzooma (free now) and have used Opteo and Adalysis in the past. @njsdanrich

Currently using Adalysis. Though definitely not to the degree that I should be. I need to learn the platform better. @CJSlattery

The main tools we use are actual management is a feed management tool. But Supermetrics is the one tool I couldnt do my job without. It’s key for us in reporting & analyzing data. @selley2134

I’ll give @adthena a shout here. Awesome tool for competitive insights on the paid side. It’s about as comprehensive as I’ve seen on the market. @Chad_Kearns

I am big on SA360, but also other little tools like @semrush@spyfu and @karooya @JonKagan

Not really. We mostly use Google-based tools for management and 3rd party tools for audits. I’d say the only one I use on a daily basis is @Supermetrics @ynotweb

I am not using a ton of tools at the moment. @NeptuneMoon

I used to use in-house tools in my agency life and then built some for said agency and now build my own/use scripts instead (I don’t work on any big accounts any more) @Greg_Asquith

I’ve been playing with Adzooma since they made it free just to get an idea of capabilities. Use SEMRush for a lot of planning and competitor analysis too. @DavidBawden7

Yes, I love using @Optmyzr to help with my account management. @lchasse

Optmyzer for account management, funnel for reporting, looking for a tool for amazon management. @360vardi

Also GDS to create reporting visuals and analysis dashboards, so we don’t have to download data for easy/repetitive analysis. @360vardi

Q2: What circumstances make you decide you need a PPC tool?

If we cannot easily perform the action ourselves. Basically cost/benefit of us spending time to “make” the tool vs subscription fee for a pre-made tool. We also do this analysis client by client to see if one client could greatly benefit from a specific tool. @selley2134

Repetitive work and volume of work. The larger the account the more tools we use, smaller accounts are easier to manage without too much external analysis. @ynotweb

My main criteria, for a tool that I would pay for directly, is if it saves time and/or frees me up to do higher level work. Oftentimes too, clients have tools in place that they want to continue to use, so I end up working with them as well. @NeptuneMoon

Tools need to have value. Is the time savings or performance improvements worth the price? If yes, I’m buying! @FindingAmanda

Generally time savings is the most important part to me. If a tool can save me even a couple hours a month, it’s going to be worth the cost. @CJSlattery

I liked how some tools you can create rules that help with your workflow. Tools to me have to be (1) affordable for your level and (2) increase your efficiency. @lchasse

I think there’s some consensus here! Repetitive/not humanly possible tasks and cost/benefit analysis are key. I tend to ask people “Would you do this more often/start doing it if a tool did some/all of the work for you?” @Greg_Asquith

Efficiency and scale. We are spending a lot if time doing things that should be automated or semi-automated. @360vardi

Yep – it’s mostly a time thing, trying to minimise the repetitive tasks to focus on more important campaign elements. @DavidBawden7

I do a cost/benefit analysis and see if it’s worth it really. If it makes my life easier and then benefit is greater than the cost I’m up for it. @jord_stark

99% of the time it is competitive or new business work. @JonKagan

Q3: Which of your tools is your absolute favorite and why?

Supermetrics – We do a lot of custom reporting and supermetrics makes that fast/easy. Plus we build a lot of other tools using supermetrics and it make analysis (pulling data across multiple accounts or data sources) so quick and easy. @selley2134

I personally hate reporting more than anything. I understand it helps the clients, but it’s just boring because I know the account, so Funnel and GDS to make that process faster is my favorite. @360vardi

As mentioned- Supermetrics is the one and only tool I don’t think I could live without for our SEM & PPC work. @ynotweb

@Optmyzr is still my favorite tool outside of using analytics. The big reason is the time savings I get. @lchasse

I don’t know if I could say favorite, but I like KW everywhere right now. It’s cheap and it makes it easy to see related search terms collect them and export them. @jord_stark

Why Supermetrics? Because data,data,data. We love data. And it let’s me create custom reports, regular refresh and creation of historical data record that would otherwise be tedious to pull and tainted by account changes. @ynotweb

There is no single one I absolutely love. If I had to be truly neutral, it’s gonna be excel. @JonKagan

Q4: Are there any tools that you have tried and ended up stopping using? Why?

Yes several. Not sure about naming names, but some of the crap I’ve seen out of automation tools (namely those which makes changes for you) is astounding. Even the very high-priced tools gave us crap output. @ynotweb

I stopped using the @MSFTAdvertising forecasting tools, found the numbers to be too unrealistic. @JonKagan

We switched from supermetrics to Funnel/GDS (b/C) we found it was easier for us). We decreased use of SEMRush B/C results are meh. We stopped using/recommending using third party bidding tools because if you wanted automated bidding, you can just use the channels TBH. @360vardi

Will second what Daniel says here w/r/t SEMRush. I still use it but not for PPC stuff since I find it to be close to useless for PPC stuff. I did also try Opteo back in the day. It was fine but was heavily skewed toward SKAGs which is less a thing these days. @CJSlattery

We have used different reporting tools in the past but found supermetrics is best for us. Also have tried a few different feed management tools – would be interested if anyone really likes their Feed tool, what are you using? @selley2134

Lots of stuff — everything from social listening platforms to bid management tools. Most of the time, it just doesn’t deliver the value it purports to, or it ends up causing more problems than it solves. @DigitalSamIAm

Q5: What is your biggest obstacle to finding and/or using PPC tools?

Too many of them and too many channels to vet quickly. Also channels keep making changes to their capabilities, so what was great before, may not work well now or in the future. @360vardi

The cost! Then for reporting/dashboard tools, the main hangup is the arduous set up process to get all of our accounts switched over and all channels integrated. @owlflurry

Cost is probably the biggest factor in adoption/use of a tool. Many are quite interesting, but the cost is hard to justify for non-enterprise level accounts. @NeptuneMoon

Money. @JonKagan

The biggest hurdle I have found was tools being able to do what they say they can actually do and price. A lot of the tools are priced for big agencies and not freelancers or small agencies. @lchasse

Available Time LOL . @ynotweb

Onboarding time. I’m generally not concerned about the cost as far as the monthly price is concerned. I’m much more concerned about how many hours it’s going to take to learn how to use the software efficiently vs the time savings. @CJSlattery

Justifying the cost! Plus no company wants be a guinea pig and it can be difficult to explain wasted budget if the tool doesn’t help. @DavidBawden7

Cost, but specifically switching costs. Trying to fit learning a new system (that may or may not prove beneficial over time) into my existing schedule is a significant impairment for me in finding new tools. @PPCKirk

Accessibility, it takes a lot of time to get acquainted, or to get through the learning process. Sometimes it’s just not worth it or it is and I just haven’t had the time. I’m taking some names though and have promised myself that I’m going take a look. @jord_stark

Q6: Do you pass the cost of tool subscriptions on to clients? If so, how – built into your costs, a technology fee, pass the actual subscription cost along, or something else?

Yes, technology fee added to invoices. @timothyjjensen

No. overhead cost. @JonKagan

We don’t generally. We’re extremely transparent with all clients about which tools we license + provide to clients as part of our standard fees. If the client requests a tool different from those offered, then we’d pass that cost on to the client. @DigitalSamIAm

We have not historically done so, we bake it into our normal costs. I’m not strongly for or against here, just “how we’ve done it” and I like simple pricing. @PPCKirk

Yes and no. We build “advanced resources” costs into our more aggressive packages, but that’s more based on skilled people who can use the tools, rather than the cost of the tools we use. @ynotweb

HOWEVER: if a sufficient number of clients (3-5 starts to get noticed) ask for a specific tool or functionality, then we’ll look at ways to meet that need for clients and add it to our existing suite of tools. @DigitalSamIAm

I have seriously been considering adding a technology fee to project costs, particularly those with ongoing, monthly management work. @NeptuneMoon

Tool costs are part of doing business, so I do not pass them along. If I had a larger agency, I would do a technology fee though as it would get expensive. If a client wants a specific tool outside what I have to offer, I will have them pay for that tool though. @lchasse

Depends on the Tool – something we use across clients like semrush/supermetrics – no. Something specific for that client like CallRail/Data Feed management – Yes but we usually get them a better price than they would on their own & have it as a separate line item. @selley2134

In the past – we always build it into tech fee. @mindswanppc

Never for management like Optmyzer or reporting, but they pay directly for feed management or call tracking, so if they leave, that can go with them. @360vardi

Q7: What do you wish there was a tool for and/or a feature in an existing tool for these days?

I wish a tool that can manage/report all my channels together for everything #ppcchat. It’s a lot to ask for. @360vardi

It’s more about centralization for me than it is about specificity or niche solutions. For example, I love @semrush b/c they’ve integrated a number of features together. Ditto for @Supermetrics – they work with data from hundreds of platforms. Makes life easier. @DigitalSamIAm

Automatically keeping an eye on Google’s automatic changes & opting out if we haven’t opted in. Plus going through the Opportunities tab to list recs & deny to help our optimization score. @selley2134

Something that would deal with those pesky Google Recommendations! Like evaluating the thousands of suggested keywords against our accounts negative keywords or keywords in other campaigns. Wow, would I pay for that. Also, flipping the suggestions for ‘redundant’ kw. @ynotweb

Management of Facebook ad comments that is simple, easy, and all in one place. @NeptuneMoon

I will piggyback on something that could review all the Google recos if there are any actual gold nuggets. I also would like reporting that is easy to connect all accounts to get put together for clients (easily) and (affordably) @lchasse.

Offline/bulk editors for platforms that don’t have them, like LI. @timothyjjensen

A team-building activity prevented me from answering any more than this but I would say a tool that can get us better functionality with match types + give us more data on. Give us our SQR insight back!! If only we could jump over the API block. @mindswanppc

I don’t know if I’d call it a tool, but for the search OG’s, I’d want the old Yahoo Competitor Bid Tool back. @JonKagan

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