You’ve got a great offer – one you can back – but despite your efforts with the site and social, you’re having trouble creating those all-important conversions.
The affiliate marketing space is saturated.
It’s a blessing and a curse because it reaffirms your thoughts about the offer being profitable (why else would people put their time & effort?) but means there’s a lot of competition.
These others often take the same approach:
- Create a site
- Publish content (reviews)
- Build links
- Share on social
A good majority will leave it at that but this is where you have an edge & opportunity.
With a touch of PPC advertising, you can cut through the noise and reach your target market. It’s a way to land top placement in search results. It also shows immediate results versus having to spend hours of your time creating content for your site or building links.
Search isn’t the only way to use pay-per-click advertising.
You can apply PPC to display ads on social platforms, native content, promoted listings, app interaction, and several others. If they can click then you’ve got yourself a PPC opportunity.
Yet, there’s a problem…
PPC gets tricky outside of its basic bid, run, track usage.
Before you know it – you could spend thousands on a campaign that net you nothing.
You’re going in blind without the right PPC advertising tools. Especially if you start to scale.
What We Look for in PPC Advertising Tools
The baseline is the inclusion of the two major search platforms:
- Google AdWords
- Bing Ads
These two will likely account for most of your PPC efforts. They’re a wonderful starting point to learn the basics while providing an opportunity to scale. They’re tried-and-test + there are thousands of fantastic articles, videos, and full tutorials to learn these platforms.
What we generally look for in PPC advertising tools are:
- Bidding & management
First off, we want a trial so we can test run the tools since many can cost hundreds of dollars each month. Second, we want to make sure we have flexibility with our usage so it needs to be available across platforms whether it’s in a desktop environment or as a SaaS service.
Once in there, we want a PPC ad tool that’s easy to navigate so we’re not spending our limited time trying to fiddle with the features. While using the tool, we like seeing automated bidding, optimization, keyword suggestions, and channel options (search, social, mobile, etc).
The tool must provide detailed reporting so we can optimize our campaigns.
When we’re stuck we want solid training for the tool and PPC in general. Along with great customer support if we’re having problems or have an inquiry.
That’s not asking for much considering we’re using the tool on expensive campaigns, agreed?
Let’s go ahead and look at some of the tools that fit these criteria.
Our Picks for the Best PPC Advertising Tools
A good PPC tool is one that condenses the convoluted backends in one place. A great PPC tool is one that bumps it into the next level by offering stellar suggestions for improvements.
PPC isn’t something to blindly go into – the same can be said about the tool.
Big money is on the line so using some fly-by-night program you found via pop flash affiliate offer probably isn’t in your best interest.
We say go with the tools that are tried-and-test.
The tools like…
WordStream’s tagline is “online advertising made easy” and it sure does accomplish this goal.
The WordStream software begins by analyzing and setting a benchmark for your current PPC & social campaigns then offer suggestions for improvements. The software tracks the KPIs then optimizes the spend. All this packaged around a “20 minute” weekly work routine.
The tool taps into billions of dollars of advertising spend to give you the best idea of the market.
You’ll be able to control and optimize:
- Google ads
- Bing ads
- Facebook ads
They are a Google Partner and winner of multiple awards within the industry. Plus, they offer an extensive learning resource through their webinars, blogs, and PPC University.
Pricing is largely dependent on monthly ad spend:
- Trial version
- $5k-$10k: $1,000 fee + 10% of spend
- $10.1k – $25k: $1,000 fee + 9% of spend
… and up – lowering by 1% of ad spend as you reach higher tiers.
All-in-all, there’s a reason WordStream is an industry leader; their robust system greatly reduces the time commitment needed for a great PPC/social campaign while simultaneously optimizing and improving campaigns to increase returns. What’s not to love?
Clickable boasts a potential “10x return on ad spend across Facebook, Google, Bing, Twitter, LinkedIn and other PPC”. A bold claim by this all-in-one solution to PPC management. Do they hold up, though?
The Clickable platform uses proprietary software to condense real-time analytics collected from several sources to provide actions to improve ROI (and automation).
- Web analytics
- Ad networks
- CRM software
- Marketing automation software
- Excel files
Once onboarding is complete, you’ll have a real-time dashboard providing acquisition costs filtered by interests, occupations, graphics, keywords, audiences, and custom rules. From here, you can adjust the campaigns using this unified data.
Plans begin at $999/mo with options for 10 locations, 50k mentions/mo, and 250k total audience.
SearchForce didn’t immediately come up on our radar but that change when we noticed its usage by businesses like Yellow Pages, Advanced Auto Parts, and Thomson Reuters.
SearchForce pulls together all the features you’d want with a management tool:
- Bid management
- Facebook dynamic product ads
- Reporting & revenue tracking
- Social campaign creation
All backed by a team of professionals that will help integrate the tool into your routine and provide on-demand services to improve efficiency and ROI.
The tool is impressively complex and adaptable though its drawback is its current, limited scope in verticals being automotive, finance, retail, and real estate. Not exactly the full suite we’re looking for as far as affiliate marketing but a tool that could be integrated nonetheless.
Pricing: Upon request.
AdRoll is probably our favorite tool out of the bunch because:
- It’s modern
- Integrates with just about everything
- Has a pay as you go pricing structure
The real draw of the tool is retargeting.
Retargeting, for those that don’t know, is displaying ads to those that have already interacted with your site or campaign. It drips personalized ads based on their previous response – a strategy AdRoll is reporting to have outperformed industry standards by 2x.
Prospecting through advertising co-op will target similar audiences to those that are your customers.
Notable features include:
- Retargeting campaigns via email
- Personalized on-site pop-ups
- Product showcasing based on behavior
- CRM data onboarding and marketing platform integrations
AdRoll pricing starts at $1 based on a CPM model and includes a free trial.
AdEspresso is all about Facebook Ads and that’s okay when we’re talking PPC management since most of you will probably only ever use the platform. Facebook Ads are rapidly replacing the need for Google search ads since people spend more time on social than anything – so why not go to the source!
AdEspresso has the features you want:
- A/B testing
- Dashboard analytics
- Optimization suggestions
It’s a tool created by Hootsuite (see our Social Media tools) that’s trusted by giants like HubSpot, Microsoft, and Teespring.
Plus, they’ve got a great educational portal to get started with FB advertising and optimize your ROI when using the tool.
The best part? Pricing is cheap!
You can start with their base subscription at $49 a month for small campaigns under $3,000/mo. Yet, scale it to the $149/mo plan once you bump those numbers up to $10k and more.
We’re including AdGooRoo even though it’s not a PPC management tool.
It’s all about the insights, baby!
AdGooRoo is a tool for competitive analysis.
The tool will analyze multiple data points from SEM and Local to Industry and Trademark. This gives you an incredible overview of what the competition is doing so you can improve on their campaigns and out-do what they… do.
AdGooRoo claims the largest search marketing intelligence database.
The scope of this data lets you get a complete picture of:
- Ad spend
- Cost per click
- Landing pages
- Ad coverage
- SERP positions
Basically – you’ve got everything on the competition … and that gives you leverage.
They’ve got a wonderful blog providing deep insights about various industries, too!
Pricing is upon request but there is a demo to try.
Let’s just say that if you want the best PPC management tool then Acquisio is the winner.
Acquisio is the tool that professionals use to provide most of their services to your average client. That should tell you what to expect from it.
This is a management tool unlike any other – it uses predictive algorithms to both learn and provide suggestions on what to spend across ad platforms. It optimizes bid adjustments and placement to get the most out of your campaigns.
They boast some pretty impressive claims:
- 71% average conversion increase
- 4x more likely to hit budgets
- 35% longer account lifespan
This is a pinnacle tool for search and social – plus, it starts at just $199/mo for those doing $5,000 ad spend or less and then scales quite nicely!
Making the Most of PPC Advertising Tools
These tools are meant to make it easier to manage your PPC advertising campaigns.
Yet, they get complex if you want to dig deep.
Most us will barely scratch the surface – and that’s okay – because we’re using them as a tool to get results. If it’s working, then it’s good, right?
It’s still good to know a little more though…
Learning the Ins and Outs
For most of us – we’re going to look at how much we’re paying for an ad, measuring the conversions, and tracking our profits.
If we put $1 in and made $1.01 back then we’d keep doing it.
PPC is a massive industry these days unlike before where a lot of it was flat-rate. There are all kinds of factors to the point you’d end up spending all your time doing the PPC campaign instead of the affiliate marketing stuff.
Basically… know enough so you can use the tools (and services) to get what you want out of it.
Otherwise, if you’re really persistent with learning all the ins and outs of PPC advertising then you’d want to consider a good PPC training course. One that’ll take you through the whole gamut so you can do this advertising in-house to save money.
That’s up to you.
We prefer to do a bit of both:
- Small campaigns we can manage for launches
- Handing it over to pros for the big ones
PPC can quickly get out of hand if you don’t know what you’re doing – costing you thousands – so know what you’re getting into before you commit.
Measuring the Click Value
You could throw money at the PPC campaign all day expecting results – and you’ll get them – but are they profitable or just breaking even? Or worse, losing you money?
There are a few factors to consider:
- Number of sales
- Number of leads
This will provide a conversion rate.
For example: If you displayed 1,000 PPC ads and had 100 clicks then your conversion rate is 10%.
From there – you must factor:
- Site conversion rate
- Closing rate
Just because you receive 100 visitors to your site from the campaign doesn’t mean that’s 100 sales coming through. Many will bounce while others get hung up on the shopping cart – this gives you a site conversion rate.
Then… will they complete the transaction? Those that do go into the closing rate.
So out of this campaign (starting with 1,000 displays), you may receive just 1-3% conversion which happens to align with the industry average of 2.35%.
- The goal isn’t to lose money due to the cost of the PPC ad campaign.
- If your gross profit is positive then it’s worth the investment.
Where does the profit come from if conversion rates are so low and PPC is so high?
Measuring the Customer Value
What you’ll want to consider is the lifetime value of the customer.
Suppose you earn you $1,000 while they remain your follower and part of the community.
Would you spend $10 on a PPC ad if they became a customer? Of course!
What about $100 or even $999? Still, there’s a profit.
That’s what you must remember with PPC advertising – a lot of the time in affiliate marketing you’re using it as a loss leader.
Now, you could be a whiz and have incredible conversion rates but let’s stay grounded.
This is why PPC in affiliate marketing is often paired with list building.
You draw them to the site with an enticing ad, convert them to join your list, and now each point of contact afterward is free.
A keyword is a keyword, right?
There’s a big difference in something like “how-to do X” versus “where to buy X”.
It’s the commercial intent.
- Where to buy
- How much is
- X alternatives
These are types of phrases telling you people are looking to buy.
Yes, you could convert on informational queries with the right content and conversion optimization but it’s best to focus the PPC ads on those keywords with commercial intent.
Two Quick and Helpful Notes
Want to skip all the headache?
Copy the competition.
If they’re running PPC ads then they’ve likely done the market research. They’re already paying money and if you’re seeing it often then you know it’s making them money.
Use tools like SEMRush, SpyFu, and AdBeat to monitor keywords for PPC. These tools will display who’s bidding and for how much. From there, you can use the keywords in a seed list and expand using ones you’ve found to be potentially profitable (with that commercial intent).
PPC tools have remarketing options which let you display ads to a specified list such as those that have already visited your blog or took a specific action.
This greatly reduces the cost of the PPC campaigns especially if they first found your site through organic or social search.
SEO Tools: Let’s Recap
You either want in or nothing to do with PPC.
We don’t blame you because there are plenty of free platforms and strategies for driving traffic. The difference, though, is whether you want to scale and cut through the noise.
- Do I want to spend all week crafting content that may not get found?
- Do I want to drop some money toward a PPC campaign and get traffic today?
If you’re leaning toward the latter then these PPC advertising tools are for you.
- PPC management tools make sense of a mess of data
- Look for tools that provide good visualization and campaign suggestions
- Expect to pay a decent amount but justify the costs based on performance and savings
- Perhaps start small with something like AdEspresso then work your way up
- Pay attention to the KPIs!
- Copy the competition whenever you can to reduce R&D and costs
PPC is scary but it’s amazing we have this kind of power in our advertising.
Spending money toward a campaign you’re not 100% sure about is a bit of a gamble. Yet, if you’ve done the math and understand the tools then you’ll likely see a respectable return on investment.
Being able to find a product and immediately start its promotion is amazing. It’s a game changer with affiliate marketing. One you should play.
Questions? Comments? Tell us what you think about PPC advertising tools!