Paid search is one of the quickest ways to attract customers and gain visibility, especially for new online businesses. However, designing the perfect ads and continuously optimizing their performance requires considerable time and attention.
That’s where pay-per-click tools come to the rescue, helping you optimize aspects of your campaign and manage your ad budget more effectively.
What Are PPC Tools & Why Are They Important?
Pay-per-click (PPC) tools streamline your paid search campaign through automation and analytics. While the time these solutions can save is reason enough for you to consider using them, they actually have many benefits, including:
- Enhanced Productivity: Whether you want to design ads that follow best practices or perform A/B testing to compare the performance of different landing pages, automation fuels your campaign by reducing the work and time involved. Through ad templates, bulk editing, and bid management, PPC tools leave more time for you to focus on other concerns.
- Reduced PPC Advertising Costs: Many of the best-paid search tools allow you to allocate your budget more effectively through automated bidding, maximizing the return on each ad click. They help you find cost-effective keywords with minimal competition and let you estimate expenses more accurately.
- Increased Quality Score: Google uses Quality Score to determine the value and relevance of your ads, and some optimization tools offer helpful tips to improve your score. Maintaining a higher rating can help improve your ad positions and reduce costs per click (CPC), giving you an edge over competitors.
- Improved Analytics: PPC analysis tools help you make sense of ad performance, competition tracking, and other data-driven aspects of paid search. They simplify the data involved, and some platforms even offer real-time monitoring and scheduled reports to keep you informed at every pivotal moment in your campaign.
Free PPC Tools
PPC marketing tools can help you save money in the long run, but many require an initial investment in the form of a subscription. Fortunately, some of the best-paid search intelligence software is free, so you can still test a few tools, even with a limited budget.
1. Ads Editor
Google’s Ads Editor is a powerful tool that can help you manage large volumes of ads associated with your Google Ads account. The PPC software lets you download your content to make bulk edits to everything offline. It also runs policy violation checks while you work, and you can export files to share with other team members. Changes remain as drafts until you choose to upload them, helping minimize mistakes.
- Allows offline work
- Bulk editing speeds up ad management
- Copy and paste functions transfer ad elements to other ad campaigns
- Draft saves let you review changes before publishing
- Automatically checks for ad errors and policy violations
- Includes import and export features for team collaboration
2. Google Analytics
Google Analytics offers detailed information about your customers and lets you track conversions across forms and landing pages through goals you define. It allows you to monitor events such as downloads or video plays to understand how paid search visitors interact with your site, providing opportunities to improve engagement. While Google Analytics is easily one of the best PPC tools, it also offers valuable insights into organic traffic, social media, and referrals to help you plan how to promote your blog to a wider audience.
- Simplifies conversion and event tracking
- Offers detailed audience insights
- Multi-channel tracking shows how PPC fits into broader marketing strategies
- Engagement metrics help you improve landing page performance
3. Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is one of the most essential PPC tools for digital marketing agencies, small businesses, and individuals alike. It allows you to find new keywords relevant to your ads, shows the average search volume of each, and estimates the level of competition for bids. These metrics are central to maximizing paid search performance and controlling how much you spend on your campaign.
- Helps find relevant, budget-friendly keywords
- Assists with competition analysis
- Geographical and language filters offer highly refined results
- Organizes keywords into ad groups
- Integrates easily with Google Ads
4. Google Trends
Google Trends displays the search volume of specific keywords relative to the search engine’s total. It provides a comprehensive overview of a keyword’s popularity over time, letting you track seasonal fluctuations and changes in interest after global or regional events. While marketers frequently use Trends for SEO, and there are some key differences between SEO and SEM, both growth methods use keywords extensively. Google Trends helps you avoid surprises and spot underutilized search terms with the potential for future traffic.
- Shows fluctuations in keyword search volume over time
- Helps you find search queries with future potential
- Provides insights into how current events affect paid and organic search behavior
- Features historical, seasonal, and regional data
- Allows you to find related keywords
More Great PPC Management Software
Many paid search tools require a monthly or annual subscription to access most features or use the software at all. Although this adds to expenses, these tools can help you increase sales and offer returns beyond the initial cost.
SpyFu uses web scraping to examine your competition’s marketing practices, unearthing their most lucrative keywords and most successful landing page strategies. SpyFu’s Ad History tool shows copy performance, offering valuable insights to help you plan your own content based on what already works. Additionally, the software includes general SEO tools to assist with tasks such as backlink analysis and rank tracking. Subscriptions start at $39 monthly for a basic plan, with discounts for annual billing.
- Streamlines keyword research and competition analysis
- Reveals competitors’ ad copy performance and estimates their spending
- Allows you to export data reports for collaboration
- Includes SEO tools
Semrush is one of the best PPC tool suites for managing every aspect of your marketing. Its Advertising Research tool lets you analyze the top-performing copy of competitors and check what keywords they’re targeting, while Keyword Magic helps you find relevant terms, filtering by metrics such as search volume and CPC. The software also includes paid search position tracking to monitor performance continuously. Prices start at $129.95 monthly for access to comprehensive SEO, PPC, and social media tools.
- Detailed advertising research at your fingertips
- Keyword Gap finds cost-effective search terms your competitors missed
- Advanced filters remove duplicate and irrelevant keywords
- Position tracking measures paid search performance regularly
- Can import Google Ads campaigns
AdEspresso is a PPC management and optimization solution that helps you perfect your search and social media advertising strategy. The platform’s robust A/B testing features help you compare alternative versions of content to find what works best for your audience, maximizing click-through rates and conversions. Other impressive features include content scheduling, media management, and detailed analytics, allowing you to manage most aspects of paid search marketing with one tool. Prices begin at $49 monthly with a $1,000 ad value limit (unlimited in higher subscription tiers).
- Streamlines ad creation and management
- A/B testing and automated optimization features maximize your ROI
- Detailed analytics to track performance
- Cross-platform and team collaboration features
iSpionage is a competitive intelligence PPC tool that lets you perform detailed research into your competitors’ PPC marketing strategies. Its powerful features help you evaluate design elements, keywords, and other details contributing to their campaign’s success. Like several other great PPC tools on this list, iSpionage has A/B testing and keyword research functions. However, it also assigns a unique Effectiveness Index score to your keywords and ad copy to help you optimize your marketing further. Prices begin at $59 monthly for unlimited research and access to most features.
- Improves ad copy and optimization
- Analyzes other companies’ strategies to offer competitive advantages
- Filters out ineffective keywords
- Includes extensive A/B testing features
Similarweb‘s Digital Marketing Intelligence pay-per-click tool analyzes your site’s paid search performance while offering insights based on competitors’ strategies. The platform’s main strength is its industry and geographical data, providing extensive benchmarking features to track and compare your performance. It also has powerful landing page and marketing mix analysis capabilities that can reveal what your competitors invest time and money into, helping you determine the right balance of SEO vs. PPC for your niche. Monthly subscriptions begin at $149, with a discount for annual billing.
- Reveals competitors’ landing page tactics
- Finds more lucrative and rankable keywords
- Robust industry and geographical benchmarking capabilities
- Provides additional insights into social media and organic search
Marin is primarily a performance and budgeting solution for PPC marketing with features such as cross-channel campaign management, automated bidding, and performance-based budget allocation. The software uses analytics to offer insights that improve keyword targeting and help your ads resonate more with your target audience. It can also track conversions across multiple channels, linking them to specific audience segments and keywords so you can fine-tune your PPC strategy based on what works. Prices begin at $500 monthly, with higher tiers offering more frequent data refreshes.
- Provides data-driven performance insights
- Budget allocation and automated bidding maximize ROI
- Scales easily to handle larger PPC campaigns
- Includes site link optimization features
Unbounce is an AI-driven landing page creation and optimization tool that helps maximize conversions. The software features an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop content builder that lets you work from optimized templates to ensure your landing pages follow best practices. While you can write manually and remix content with the tool’s AI, you can also generate copy from scratch, tweak it to suit your needs, and then optimize it further using Unbounce’s many analysis and A/B testing features. Subscriptions start at $99 monthly for one domain and up to 500 conversions.
- Optimized landing pages maximize conversions from your PPC ads
- Powerful optimization features enhance campaign performance
- Customizable templates ensure consistent branding
Hotjar is a website analytics tool that lets you visualize and understand visitor behavior to improve engagement and conversions. The software’s heatmaps show how users interact with your pages, while its form analysis features reveal abandonment points, illustrating opportunities for sales funnel improvement. You can also implement direct surveys and interviews with the platform, allowing users to highlight any issues they’ve experienced using your website. Many features are free, but plans provide additional analysis tools, starting at $99.
- Optimizes landing pages and reduces conversion costs for higher ROI
- Reduces form abandonment rates
- Improves website design based on user behavior
- Visitor behavior insights present ideas for A/B testing
VWO is a website optimization tool for content and UX improvement. It offers extensive user activity analysis through heatmaps, session recordings, direct feedback, and customizable A/B testing to compare landing page and website architecture changes. VWO’s extensive filters let you analyze PPC performance across specific locations, devices, or audiences, revealing where you should invest more time and money for maximum ROI. Many of the platform’s features are free. However, paid plans start at $357 monthly, providing unlimited variations and goals, extra reporting features, and chat support.
- Improves ROI with analytics
- Real-time data for rapid optimization and testing
- Improves website and landing page user-friendliness
- Custom targeting tailors tests and reports based on detailed filters
Get the Most Out of Your Search-First Strategy
Paid search can direct new visitors to your website, many of whom may even become loyal customers if you play your cards right. However, the perfect PPC marketing campaign requires a keen awareness of your target audience, continuous tweaking based on data, and strategic use of automation and optimization tools to enhance your results. When you make PPC part of a search-first strategy, you increase your chances of success.