Top SEM tools for planning and monitoring your campaigns

Planning, managing and tracking SEM campaigns can be complicated, but these tools take the stress out of the task
Jan 20, 2020 • 6 minute read
Zohaab Ishrat @zohaab85
Technical Co-pilot
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Manage, track and plan your campaigns with these powerful SEM tools

The search market is already saturated with competition, and to appear on top of the search rankings you need to employ a very extensive SEO strategy which will take a while to kick into play. But, of course, there is ye olde reliable method of SEM. This can be employed in tandem with SEO to boost your SERP appearance and drive more traffic to your website.

But search engine marketing is complicated, and it can be difficult to plan, manage and track campaigns. That's where the right tools can make a world of difference.

Here, we'll be discussing some useful SEM tools. You can use these tools to massively increase the effectiveness of your paid campaigns, generate better leads and funnel more of them into sales. So let’s start with our first category.

Best Tools for Keyword Research

If you know a little about how digital marketing, SEO and how PPC campaigns work, you won’t have a hard time understanding the importance of keywords. Keywords are the first and foremost method of improving the effectiveness of your SEM campaign. It's so important that the whole direction and effectiveness of your campaign largely hinges on the selection of appropriate keywords. It is, in simple terms, what a customer types into the search bar to search for an item or query online. So, the more relevant the keyword, the higher the chances of appearing in the SERPs.

Here’s a rather childish example: Imagine three websites that sell fruit online, and the keyword they have selected as follows. The first website has used "banana," "apple" and "mango" as the keywords. The second has used "banana," "apple," "mango" and "fruits." The third has used "food." Now you, a customer, have gone online to search for fruits because you want a fruit salad. What do you do? You decided to search for fruit sellers online, and you type "fruits" in the search bar because it's easier than typing the name of fruits individually, or you type "fruit" with the name of a few fruits as well. Now be the judge and decide who’s going to appear on top of the search?

Obviously, the first company targeted keywords that were way too specific. The third targeted a keyword that's far too general. The second one hit the keyword Goldilocks zone.

So, how do you figure out which keywords to use? That's where these tools come in.

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

The Ahrefs Keyword Explorer is said to be the best keyword search and analysis tool available for content creators today. The keyword report they provide is quite extensive and provides unique click metrics from clickstream data.

Along with that, they're known for providing accurate keyword difficulty score, with more than 1,000 keyword suggestions for each search (for paid accounts). Ahrefs is popular across the globe and supported in more than 171 countries.

It provides click metrics for improving CTR and an extensive SERP overview, as well as an estimated CPC (cost per click) for each keyword. They have both paid and free accounts.

SEMRush

You'll be seeing this tool in all the categories. The “All in one marketing Toolkit” is used in all aspects of digital marketing, and is equally useful for keyword research. An interesting feature is that it provides you with 5–10 very specific keywords that your competitors are already using.

Some prominent features include long-tail keyword suggestions, yearly keyword trends and worldwide CPC distribution statistics. With a paid account, along with the previous features, you also get the complete keyword research toolkit, keyword difficulty analysis and organic traffic insight.

Google Keyword Planner

A simple yet highly accurate source of keyword data, Google Keyword Planner has a few basic features with limited functionality, but the data it provides comes from Google itself, and the results are integrated with AdSense monetization.

It can help in locating commercial keywords using top of the page bid range. It's considered to be the best choice for business websites as it provides accurate search volume from Google’s search engine.

Few other honorable mentions are:

  • KWFinder
  • LongTailPro
  • Majestic
  • KeywordTool

Best Tools for Campaign Planning

Planning and organizing a SEM campaign takes a lot of time, especially if you have a large amount of data to process and multiple targets to keep track of. Thankfully, there's a wide variety of tools in the market to help you keep track of your campaign planning and maintenance. Here are some of our favorites.

SEMRush

As we said, this tool is going to keep coming up again and again because of all the amazing features it offers. Aside from keyword research, it performs competitor analysis, SEO and SEM checkups, and content mapping.

You can view ad analytics to view your competitors' activity and observe search volume to help you plan paid campaigns and display ads. SEMRush offers a number of in-app options that can help you track your project progression and campaign performance.

Marin Software

This is a very powerful yet easy-to-use tool for PPC campaign management. Marin is a bid management tool with which you can post as campaigns on search engines and social media sites. It's an ideal tool for marketers to enhance their paid search performance and plan their campaigns accordingly.

Google Ads Editor

This is a must for every SEM specialist. It's a part of the Google Ads package and it’s the official app for Google Ads.

With Google Ads Editor, you can easily make bulk changes to your Google Ads campaigns offline.

WordStream

The WordStream PPC advisor uses AdWords and Ad Center to create campaigns. Use it to enhance the quality of ad campaigns and guarantee increased traffic plus revenue.

It can also be used to obtain some quality feedback from different search engines. It has a bidding tool that gives you a recommendation for only those bids that are based on your goals and demands. The tool is so easy and simple that a mere 20 minutes a week is sufficient for this simple bid management tool to optimize your campaigns.

A few other honorable mentions are:

  • Kenshoo
  • Acquisio
  • PPC BidMax
  • SpyFu
  • iSpionage

Best Tools for Campaign Monitoring

After you are done with good keyword research and deployed an SEM strategy, you have placed your PPC campaigns in place and now want to sit back and monitor the whole progress. Well, here are the right tools for that purpose that will help you in excellent monitoring of your paid campaigns with metrics and comparable data to keep you better aware of the progress your strategies yield.

SEMRush

Please don’t get tired of seeing SEMrush over and over again. Believe us when we tell you that it really is that good.

SEMRush offers a marketing calendar that helps you in setting landmarks and goals to improve the efficiency of your campaign and keep better track of it. SEMrush also helps in the complete analysis of your competitor. It also provides site audits and backlinking analysis. You can use it to craft both SEO and SEM strategies that are easy to monitor and keep track of.

Supermetrics

Supermetrics is used in combination with Google Sheets and Data Studios and is a perfect add-on for reporting. It also allows you to integrate more data-connections, such as Google Search, Ads 360, Bing Ads, etc.

Adobe Media Optimizer

If you're looking to automate the management of PPC campaigns (search and mobile management included), then Adobe Media Optimizer is the right tool for you. It's a unique programmatic ad-buying solution that helps forecast the best mix of display (display + social ads) that are budget-friendly.

You can also automate the execution of a comprehensive media plan to find the most optimized way to deliver and share relevant content.

A few other honorable mentions are:

  • Analysis
  • Optmyzer
  • Ahrefs
  • Adbeat
  • Google AdWords

That is it for today folks. These are our best selections for SEM tools to better help you in the planning, optimization and management of your PPC campaigns.

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