Most jobs can be done better and quicker if you have access to the right tools. And running Google Ads campaigns is no exception. If you use the right tools you'll be able to cut the time it takes to manage your Google Ads account and improve the results that you get from your campaigns.
In this post, I've compiled what I hope will be the ultimate list of Google Ads tools. Many of the 40 tools in this list are ones that I use myself on a daily basis to ensure that my clients get the best return on investment from their PPC advertising spend.
I've divided the list of tools into five sections:
Some of the tools I've included are actually built into Google Ads itself, but are often overlooked by new advertisers. The others are a mixture of Google Ads tools provided by both Google and third parties.
Some of these tools require a monthly or annual subscription payment, in which case I've shown the current pricing below. But all the rest of the Google Ads tools in this list are completely free!
One of the first things you need to do when setting up a new Google Ads campaign is to build a list of keywords that you want to target. These tools will help you do that.
Google Keyword Planner is a keyword tool which is built into Google Ads and which is completely free to use. It will provide you with suggestions for new keywords and will also give you information about search volumes and estimated cost per click.
By using Google Trends you can see how the search volume for a given keyword varies over time. This allows you to see whether there is more demand for a particular product or service at different times of the year and then optimise your Google Ads accordingly. It also allows you to see whether the peak demand for a particular keyword has already passed.
Open an incognito window (so your previous search history doesn’t skew the results), go to Google, and start typing one of your keywords - such as "mortgages" if you're a financial adviser or mortgage broker - into the search box. Google will show you suggestions based on what people are actually searching for.
Kombinator will help you take one or two keyword ideas and expand them into a long list of keywords by finding all the different combinations of the words you enter - as shown above.
Merge Words is a very similar tool to Kombinator.
The Keyword Match Type Tool is another tool for finding all the different combinations of individual words to make a long list of keywords. But what makes this tool better than Kombinator and Merge Words is that it can output your keyword list in all the different match types at once - as shown above.
Long Tail Pro is a more in-depth keyword tool that lets you input a list of keywords and get ideas for new keywords plus data on the competition, cost per click (CPC), and the exact local and global monthly search volumes from Google.
As well as being a great SEO tool, SEM Rush also has a host of features for Google Ads users, including: letting you see what keywords your competitors are using and showing you the best performing examples of ad copy used by your competitors and industry leaders.
Spyfu is one of the best know tools for spying on your competitors' Google Ads campaigns. It lets you download your competitors most profitable keywords and see what ads they are running.
Although it's better known as an SEO keyword tool, Ahrefs also allows Google Ads advertisers to research their competitors' ads, find out what keywords they are bidding on, and see where their traffic is coming from. It also has a massive database for keyword research and can tell you how much traffic for a given keyword comes from organic search versus paid search.
Bulk Keyword Generator is a keyword tool specifically for small businesses which generates keywords based on your industry. You can select your business type and city and it will generate a list of keywords that are ideal for a local Google Ads campaign.
I've saved the best till last. SpeedPPC is one of my favourite Google Ads tools because it not only builds a comprehensive keyword list for you in the same way as Kombinator does, but it also automatically creates ads and ad groups for all of those different keywords.
For example, if you were an electrician in London, you might choose 'electrician' and 'electrical contractor' as your so-called seed keywords. And then you could have all the areas you covered - Mayfair, Pimlico, Kensington, etc - as your list of what SpeedPPC calls expansion keywords.
SpeedPPC will take these lists and create an ad group for every combination: electrician Mayfair, electrical contractor Mayfair, electrician Pimlico, electrical contractor Pimlico, etc. And in each of these ad groups it will put the relevant keywords and one or more matching ads. All at the click of a button - which makes it a fantastic time-saver for anyone who needs to build Google Ads campaigns at scale.
Once you've got your Google Ads campaigns up and running, there are various tools which can help you analyse your data to see what's working well and what isn't. There are also tools which will help reduce the time it takes to keep your campaigns optimised.
Google Sheets is a free online alternative to Microsoft Excel. Not only does it let you create and format spreadsheets, but you can also share these with other people and edit them collaboratively. Working on the same spreadsheet online ensures everything gets saved automatically, meaning you don’t have to worry about losing anything or ending up with multiple versions of the same document on different computers.
Google Sheets can do all the same kind of calculations, data sorting, and filtering as Excel and is therefore a very handy tool for analysing and manipulating data from your Google Ads campaigns.
Not to be confused with a keyword, a search term is the precise word or phrase that a user types into the search bar when they are looking for something on Google. In the Search Terms Report you can see an extensive list of the search terms that people have used and which resulted in your advert being shown or clicked.
These search terms will almost certainly include some which are not relevant to the products or services you offer. By adding these irrelevant words as negative keywords you can stops your ads appearing for those terms in the future, thus reducing wasted spend and improving your click through rate (CTR).
You can write your own scripts and you can also use the many free Google Ads scripts which are available on the web. This list of 100 Google Ads scripts is a good starting point.
Back in the days of dial-up internet access, the Google AdWords Editor (as it was called then) was an essential tool as it allowed you to download your campaigns, work on them offline using this desktop application, and then upload the changes once you were finished.
Today, Google Ads Editor is still an essential tool because it makes it so much easier to do bulk changes to your campaigns. It lets you create new campaigns and ad groups simply by copying and pasting existing ones. And it has powerful search and replace functionality and other bulk editing tools which allow you to make changes across your whole account in a matter of seconds, rather than spending hours doing them online directly in your Google Ads account.
Google Analytics includes a selection of reports dedicated to helping you analyse the performance of your Google Ads campaigns and the behaviour of the people who visit your site via Google Ads.
There is a full change history report built into Google Ads which lets you see all the changes that have been made to your campaigns along with details of who made the changes.
If you're trying to work out why the performance of your campaigns has got better or worse it is useful to be able to refer to the change history as this will often help you pinpoint which change has led to the increase of decrease in performance.
This is another tool which is built into your Google Ads account. It allows you to check whether your ads appear for certain searches and also allows you to preview how they will look in specific countries.
The WordStream Advisor tool aims to automate and simplify a lot of the day-to-day optimisation tasks that are part and parcel of running a successful Google Ads campaign.
The key selling point of the software is the "20-minute work week" feature which, each week, provides suggestions for new keywords and new negative keywords to optimise each of your Google Ads campaigns. As an added bonus, the software can also help you manage and optimise Facebook Ads campaigns.
It may not be the cheapest Google Ads tool in this list, but Optmyzr certainly boasts a lot of features for the money. It aims to reduce the amount of time taken for campaign optimisations and reporting and seems to be targeted primarily at PPC agencies who are handling multiple client accounts.
Optmyzr offers one-click campaign optimisations, built-in scripts, bid management tools, campaign automation, and enhanced reporting. As well as improving Google Ads search, display, shopping and video campaigns, it can also help you with Amazon PPC campaigns.
Of all the paid tools in this section, Opteo is my favourite and is the only one that I use regularly myself. It provides much of the same functionality found in Optmyzer and WordStream Advisor but at a much lower price.
Opteo provides daily recommendations for improving your Google Ads campaigns. You get to review the suggested improvements and then select which ones you want Opteo to apply to your Google Ads account. It really is very simple to use.
I find Opteo particularly useful for split-testing ad copy, managing bids, and making sure that campaigns stay within budget. It also has some good reporting tools.
MarinOne helps you find opportunities for growth and maximise return on investment across multiple advertising platforms, including Google Ads, Bing Ads, Apple Search Ads, and more.
SplitTester is a very simple but very useful tool which I've been using since 2004. It lets you enter the number of clicks and the CTR for two different ads that you are split testing and it then performs a statistical calculation to tell you what the likelihood is of one ad outperforming the other in the long term.
This kind of split testing functionality is included in Opteo and some of the other paid-for tools above. But if you aren't using one of those then SplitTester is an essential tool to have.
Microsoft Excel is probably the world's best-known and most widely used spreadsheet application. It comes as part of Office 365 which is available on a variety of different subscription options.
If you don't already have Excel I wouldn't recommend buying it purely for the purposes of helping you run your Google Ads campaigns. If that's all you need a spreadsheet application for then you'd be better off sticking with Google Sheets, which is free.
Kite is a very new product and a lot of its features are still to be released.
At the moment, Kite provides goal based insights to help you optimise your Google Ads campaigns. You tell it what your goals are and what you want to achieve and then it gives you a list of recommendations and says how high a priority each one is. It is down to you to implement the recommendations, but at some point Kite promises to offer a full autopilot mode.
Adzooma has a similar looking interface to Opteo and offers broadly the same set of features.
Unlike Opteo, it can also optimise Bing Ads and Facebook Ads campaigns. However, the entry level plan is only for accounts that spend up to £1,000 per month. If you spend more than that on PPC per month then you may find Opteo's pricing works better for you.
Adzooma also offers a free performance report if you are looking for some quick wins to improve your Google Ads campaigns.
At some point you are going to need to produce some kind of report based on your Google Ads data. If you're running a digital agency you might need to produce regular reports for clients. If you're managing your own Google Ads account you may need to create reports to share with colleagues or just for your own use to help you see the wood for the trees. These tools will help you do that.
Data Studio is a free Google product that lets you pull together data from Google Ads, Google Analytics, and various other sources into one simple to read dashboard. You can build your own dashboard from scratch or start with one of the many free templates provided by Google and the user community.
Google Ads comes with a number of reports built in, and these are known as Dimensions. You can find them on the Reports menu within your Google Ads account.
Reporting Ninja claims to provide everything you need from a PPC reporting tool. You can create standalone Google Ads reports, or combine your Google Ads data with information from Facebook, Bing, etc to create an all-in-one PPC report.
Swydo is my favourite reporting tool, mainly because it is so simple to use. It connects to Google Ads, Google Analytics, and a host of other platforms and can produce very easy-to-read reports which combine data from all these sources.
AdStage lets you create reporting dashboards with data from Google Ads and all your social platforms too.
The work doesn't stop once someone has clicked on one of your ads. For a successful Google Ads campaign you need a high quality landing page. These tools can help you create high-converting landing pages even if you have no web design skills.
Clickfunnels comes with a large number of landing page templates and a drag and drop editor that lets you customise them to your branding. Clickfunnels is particularly useful if you want to build a mailing list or sell a low value product as part of a sales funnel.
Thrive Themes is a collection of WordPress plugins which make it incredibly easy to build high-converting landing pages or your Google Ads campaigns. Thrive Themes includes a fantastic page builder, a wide range of quality page templates, a headline optimiser, opt-in forms, a quiz builder, and much more. I use Thrive Themes for all my own landing pages and I used it to build this website too.
Leadpages is another landing page builder with templates for mailing list signup pages, thank you pages, sales pages, and checkout pages.
Unbounce focuses on helping you build landing pages which have a lower bounce rate than you'd get if you sent traffic to your main website. It comes with over 100 templates to cover a wide range of industries and professions, and is currently available with 20% off for your first three months.
Instapage claims its landing pages can increase your conversion rate by 400%. It includes features to automatically make the landing page as relevant as possible to your ad.
These tools can make life a bit easier when you're writing new ad copy for your campaigns.
This ad preview tool lets you enter your ad copy and see how your ad will look once it appears in the Google Ads search results. It also has the option to add sitelinks, callouts, and other ad extensions to your preview ad.
Some people are reluctant to use the new responsive search ads in Google Ads because they are not sure how their ads will end up looking. This useful responsive search ad preview tool from Karooya lets you preview how your responsive search ads will look based on the various headlines and descriptions you enter.
Do you already use any of these Google Ads tools? If so, which ones do you think are the best?
Do you use any other Google Ads tools that I haven't mentioned here?
Leave a comment in the box below and I'll update this list with any useful new suggestions.
As a digital marketing consultant, author and trainer, I specialise in helping businesses in the financial services sector use the internet to get more enquiries and increase profits.
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