By Rashed Khan / Ppc / September 09, 2019
PPC can be challenging, but there are a number of tools available on the internet to make things easier.
If you’re on a budget and are looking for free PPC tools, then I’ve compiled a list of the top 46 below.
Some of these free PPC tools have paid options, but I’ve only included details of the free versions. At Pepper PPC Agency, we don’t use all of the tools listed, as we have our own in-house built tools. But for everyone else, the below may be useful.
Reporting tools for PPC
1- Google Ads Ad Preview & Diagnosis Tool – Have you ever been asked if an ad is being triggered by a certain search term? The Ad Preview and Diagnosis tool within Google Ads will show you if your ads are being triggered by a certain keyword or not. You can segment by location, language, device and audience.
2- Google Data Studio – This is a free tool that can be used to create interactive reports; saving you multiple hours per month. As this is a Google developed tool, it connects automatically with Google Ads and Google Analytics.
If you want to pull in data from other sources, you can try using Supermetrics to pull it into Google Sheets, and then connect your google Sheets file to Google Data Studio. That solution isn’t free, however.
3- Google Analytics Spreadsheet connector – If you want to automate the retrieval of Google Analytics data into Google Sheets, but don’t want to pay for Supermetrics, then give this Google Sheets add-on a go.
4- Google Ads to Google Sheets Chrome Connector – Similar to the Google Analytics connector, this Google Sheets add-on allows for data to be automatically pulled from Google Ads. Reports can be scheduled to be refreshed daily, weekly, or on the first day of the month.
Keyword/Audience Research tools for PPC
5- Google Keyword Planner – While the search volume data from this free PPC tool can sometimes be off by a large margin, the Google Keyword Planner is a great tool to expand a keyword list and find new keywords to target. It also has information on expected click prices for each keyword, volume data, and has features to create projections for a campaign.
6- Google Trends – Get an idea on the kind of volume for a particular keyword over time, find the top search terms related to a keyword and get an idea on new searches related to your keywords.
7- Bing Keyword Planner – While not as featureful as the Google Keyword Planner, the Bing keyword Planner tool can be used to get an idea on keyword volumes on the Bing search engine.
8- Wordtracker – This keyword research tool will give search volumes of related keywords, competition levels on PPC, as well as expected click prices required to compete in an auction.
9- Facebook Audience Insights – This can be accessed in the Facebook Ads Manager under the ‘Plan’ subheading menu. It contains demographic and behavioural data on your audience and that of your competitors.
Furthermore, it can be used to determine what audience to target for your advertising campaigns. The data is obtained via a mixture of self-reported information from Facebook users and third-party data partners.
10- Bing Ads Intelligence – A downloadable Excel plugin that can be used for keyword research purposes.
11- MergeWords – A free PPC tool that allows you to create keyword combinations by simply adding in each word into one of the three boxes. The MergeWords tool will do the rest.
12- Google Correlate – Google Correlate reveals trending data for phrase match terms of what you search for.
13- Keywords Everywhere – This tool can be installed on either Google Chrome or on Firefox. It’s very useful and shows related keywords, average cost per click, and competition levels of similar keywords as you search on Google.
14- PPC Keyword Wrapper for Google & Bing Ads– If you’re looking for a Google keyword wrapper or a Microsoft Advertising keyword wrapper, then this could be the tool for you. This is a Google Chrome extension that will add the extra characters to create exact match, phrase match, and broad match modified keywords, after the user has entered in the keywords that they want to target. It also has an option to turn on all keywords to lowercase.
Bidding PPC tools
15- Google Ads Scripts – I’ve added this in the bidding section because it has been used to automate various bidding decisions, but in reality, Google Ads scripts is a very powerful tool. It can allow many aspects to be automated.
16- Microsoft Advertising Scripts – Similar to Google Ads scripts, Microsoft Advertising offers scripts to be created to automate various tasks. It is currently in open beta and it will automatically convert Google Ads scripts to work.
17- Automated Rules – Automated rules can be created to automatically make certain changes to your Google Ads account, which can save bags of time.
Although I’ve added automated rules under bidding, as you can change bids with automated rules, there are a number of other changes that can be made with automated rules as well.
Activating or pausing ad copy and removing placements are just two examples. To create an automated rule, click on ‘Tools’ on the top right of the screen and then on ‘Rules’ under ‘Bulk Actions’.
Competitor research tools
18- Similarweb – For free, you can get some insights on a competitor’s website. You can get the competitor’s top five PPC keywords, the traffic they get by country, their top referring sites, and the top five sites that they’re display ads appear on to name a few things.
19- SpyFu/iSpionage/SEMrush (free versions) – While these tools are not free, they offer a small amount of data for free. You can use the free data to get an idea on competitor activity even though you won’t be getting any comprehensive data to work with.
20- Ad beat - This is another competitor research tool with a free option. One of the interesting features that this tool gives for free is the ability to see your competitor’s display ads.
21- Google Ads Audience Insights -The audience Insights section in Google Ads can be accessed by selecting any campaign, adgroup or keyword, and then selecting Auction
Insights. It can give an idea on the competitor activity on your chosen campaign, adgroup, or keyword. While Google can’t give exact details on competitor activity, this tool can show metrics like the percentage of times each competitor appeared on the absolute top of the page and the percentage of times an ad appeared alongside your ad.
22- Bing Auction Insights - Similar to the Auction Insights report on Google Ads, a similar report can be found within Microsoft Advertising. This can be found by in the ‘Details’ section after selecting a campaign, ad group, or keyword.
Analytics tools for PPC
23- Google Analytics – An essential tool for any PPC professional is Google Analytics. This tool provides a whole host of data about how people are interacting on your website and can be used to optimise a PPC account.
24- Google Search Console – Used more in SEO circles, Google Search Console gives some data on your website’s search traffic. It has many uses but can also be linked up to Google Ads. You can then look at your average position for certain keywords on both paid and organic listings.
25- Twitter Analytics - This is a tool to measure the success of your Twitter advertising. You can measure engagement, explore the interests and demographics of your followers, and track your Twitter Cards engagement to name a few features.
26- Consumerbarometer - Google’s Consumer barometer tool contains a whole host of data that would be useful to a digital marketer. The data is presented in an easily digestible, graph format and contains a brief description. It is collected from Consumer Barometer questionnaires as well as connected consumer studies.
27- Open Web Analytics - A free to use alternative to Google Analytics, Open Analytics is an Open Source analytics tools that could be right for those looking for a simple tool to track website visits and how people interact with their website.
Optimisation tools for PPC
28- PPC NegativeKeywords Chrome extension — This is a useful little Chrome Extension that allows you to add terms into a list ready for you to add as negatives. All you need to do is to highlight the search terms or particular words that you want to add as a negative, and the tool will add the word or search term to a list.
29- Google Sheets – A free online spreadsheet tool provided by Google, Google Sheets allows for a plethora of data analysis work to be carried out in order to further optimise a PPC account.
30- Google Ads Data transfer addon for Google Sheets – This is an addon for Google Sheets that allows for data to be automatically pulled from Google Ads into Google Sheets. Once the data is in Google Sheets, you can start to make optimisation decisions.
CRO tools for PPC
31- Google Optimize – A tool that allows users to test the impact of making minor changes to their website without requiring a web developer. It allows for the creation of A/B tests, multivariate tests, and redirect tests and more. As this is a Google product, it integrates nicely with Google Analytics, which means you can use Events and Goals set up in Google Analytics with Google Optimize.
32- Hotjar – With Hotjar you can actually watch videos of how people are interacting with your website, as well as creating heatmaps, showing where people move the mouse cursor the most often. This information can then be used to remove barriers to a conversion and improve your site’s conversion rate. Improving the conversion rate of your website can only mean good things for your PPC account.
Project Management tools for PPC
33- Trello – Staying organised is very important when it comes to managing a PPC account, especially if you’re managing multiple PPC accounts with a team of people. Trello is an organisation tool that helps to organise your workload into what it calls ‘boards’.
34- Basecamp – A project management tool that can be accessed via a browser on desktop and mobile or via an app. This means as long as you have your mobile phone with you or are around a computer, you always have access to your project management app and can keep up to date with the developments being made to each project.
Campaign creation tools for PPC
35- Adwords Wrapper – Helps with the creation of keywords by adding the matchtype symbols to each keyword added. For each keyword that is presented, it will create a broad match, broad match modified, phrase match and an exact match variant.
36- Combine Keywords - A tool that helps to quickly make long tail keywords. It contains three tables. When running, the tool will produce a keyword variant for every combination in the three tables.
37- Keyword Wrapper – This is another free PPC tool that will add the matchtype symbols for each keyword that is added.
38- Google Ads Editor – If you’re running paid ads on Google Ads, then you definitely need to be using the editor provided by Google. The Google Ads Editor tool allows for bulk account changes including changes to keywords, ad copy, and campaigns.
39- Microsoft Advertising Editor – The Microsoft Advertising version of the Google Ads Editor.
40- UTM Builder – If you struggle to remember the format required to create UTM tracking, then this tool is definitely for you.
All you have to do is to add your website URL, the text for your source, medium, campaign name, term and content. The tool will then generate the URL with UTM tracking added to it.
41- Bannersnack – Need to create some Display ads but you’re not a designer? Bannersnack has an easy to use interface that allows people that don’t know how to use a tool like photoshop to create display images. The free option allows for ten images to be created.
Useful ad tools
42- Facebook Text Overlay Tool – Facebook recommends that an ad should contain no more than 20% text. If an ad has more than 20% text, then it’s reach may be lower, or it may not show at all. To check if Facebook thinks your ad has too much text, you can use Facebook’s Image Text Check tool.
43- Effin A/B Test Calculator Chrome Extension – This is an easy to use, simple Chrome extension that will calculate the conversion of an A/B test as well as show you if your data is statistically significant.
Useful mobile apps
44- Google Ads App (IOS and Android) – The Google Ads app manager allows you to keep track of the performance of your Google Ads account. While you can make changes to your Google Ads account with this app, the user interface means that you will probably want to stick to basic tasks on the app. I would recommend making larger scale changes on a desktop computer.
45- Facebook Adverts Manager App (IOS and Android) – With the Facebook Ads Manager app, you can monitor the performance of your Facebook advertising and create ads. This allows for changes to be made while on the move.
46- Google Analytics App (IOS and Android) – Access your Google Analytics data anywhere with the Google Analytics app. I find it useful to see top level figures, but for a more detailed dive into the data, I stick with the desktop version.