The 1 Paid Search Marketing & Analytics Tool You Need to Use First (Plus 4 Other Helpful Tools)

As a paid search expert, it has always been my job to leverage marketing and analytics tools and platforms to get the most out of my clients’ campaigns. While there are many great tools available aimed at simplifying and optimizing your Google search campaigns, there is one primary and original tool you need leverage first: Google Ads. 

In my past position as an Associate Search Manager through to my current role as Paid Search Supervisor, I’ve leveraged countless analytics and competitive tools with goals ranging from attribution and cross-device analysis to competitor trends, investment monitoring, and A/B testing. I’ve gleaned the maximum impact from these tools because my Google Ads account structure was set up properly and optimized thoroughly. Third-party tools rely on the integrity of your account’s data. Pushing incomplete and messy data to a third-party tool may be doing more harm than good. While it’s too simplistic to say Google Ads is the only tool you should be using, it’s absolutely true that Google Ads is the primary tool you should be using first.  

You may already be familiar with the following Google tools within the ads platform. Here is why you need to be using these Google Ads tools first, before expanding your analytics repertoire.

Google Ads Analytics Tools 

Keyword Planner 

Who should leverage this tool? 

Everyone. Whether you are thinking about launching your 1st Google campaign, or your 100th.  

Best use case? 

Discovering new keywords. Gathering search volume and forecasts. Leveraging Google to help you estimate the cost of your desired keywords and understand how much search volume there is for your target terms.  

How can I use this tool like an expert? 

Know that all the information provided by this tool is an estimate. Though you may be willing to spend $5 per click, there is so much more that goes into getting that click than just your bid. Add parameters to your estimate for the city, state, country, etc. you would like to serve your ads to refine the estimate for potential click volume.  

Google’s Search Terms Report (formerly known as Search Query Report) 

Who should leverage this tool? 

Anyone who runs search campaigns on Google Ads, should be looking at this report daily.  

Best use case? 

Search term reports share the exact queries that users typed into Google that triggered your ad to serve. There are many uses for this information, but the most impactful is to understand what consumers are truly searching for and how they are articulating those searches. Are they looking for information about your business that you do not yet have landing pages for? Products that you no longer have? Are they comparing you to your competitors? Understanding how consumers are seeking out your brand can not only provide valuable micro-insight to what terms to bid on, but it can also shed light on more macro business and industry trends relevant to your brand. 

How can I use this tool like an expert? 

Focus on the terms that come up most frequently and understand there will always be one-off searches. Identifying and acting on emerging query patterns will be more effective than chasing every new, one-off query you notice. You’re already casting a large net with your keyword set so let the queries that actually come in from real consumers drive your decisions, optimizations, and keyword buildouts. If traffic is coming in that is irrelevant or not converting, negate those terms to minimize wastage. 

Google’s Auction Insights 

Who should leverage this tool? 

Anyone with 1+ days of Google Ads data. As sample size increases, data becomes more reliable, but even after 1 day of data and as few as 1 impression, Google will be able to give you actionable information. Essentially, any advertiser at any stage can use this tool; however, your insights will be more robust, actionable, and reliable as time goes by and the tool has more auction data to analyze. 

Best use case? 

Understanding who your competition is. Why rely on a third-party tool to tell you what the competition is doing on Google Ads when you can find this information directly (and often more accurately) in Google itself? This tool shows you who (and how often) your ads overlap with other advertisers’ ads. Knowing who you’re competing with in the SERP (search engine results page) is critical to knowing what specific messaging to include in your ads. Other data gathered from the auction insights reports can also influence how and where you decide to advertise, as your brand will be better equipped to understand market saturation, the strength of the competitive players, and your investment relative to other brands. 

How can I use this tool like an expert? 

Change the date range and review your Auction Insights report by campaign to understand who your true competitors are by category. You may have strong competition on some keywords but not others; therefore, viewing the report on the account level may not provide the level of insight you need, so take advantage of more granular views. You may find that other advertisers only run ads on specific days or months, or that they are not bidding on any terms in a specific product or service category. With this insight, you can adjust your investment strategy to capitalize on uncrowded keyword spaces or defend your brand in higher-stake searches. 

Tools to Supplement Google Ads 

To ensure the success of your paid search campaigns, it’s key that you (or your agency) regularly monitor marketing analytics to continue evolving your paid advertising strategy. At Booyah, once we ensure an account is properly structured (therefore enabling a clean and accurate data flow) , we leverage the following four supplemental analytics tools to squeeze even more performance out of our clients’ media investment: 

AdAlysis 

Who can leverage this tool? 

AdAlysis is a great fit for managers who prefer to review their data in automated dashboards and receive tool-generated recommendations based on statistics. AdAlysis can help simplify your data for quick and easy decision making. 

Best use case? 

This tool is best used directionally. AdAlysis uses samples of account data to identify trends; the tool does not analyze every single query, click, and conversion. There is nearly infinite information to be reviewed within the ad account itself; Adalysis helps to identify important areas and focus managers’ analysis to the areas where it is most useful.  

SEMRush 

Who should leverage this tool? 

Brands looking to dive into competitive, investment-related, and ad copy trends, among other data segments. If you’re seeking to monitor the competition, this tool is for you. SEMRush has upsides outside of the paid search world as well including in the SEO, social media, and content marketing spheres. 

Best use case? 

Building your competitive strategy. While Auction Insights within Google measure your competitive overlap on identical keywords — showcasing how often you and a competitor are bidding (if at all) on those keywords — this metric is more binary (are we both bidding on it, or not?). SEMRush takes this information a step further and illustrates specifically what amount, and on which terms, your competition is bidding. Booyah leverages this tool when planning quarterly budgets and determining what terms to bid on. This data helps us know where to compete, what to avoid, and what investment is required to defend a client’s brand. 

Optimizely 

Who should leverage this tool? 

Advertisers who want to evaluate their landing page performance within their marketing efforts should explore Optimizely. This tool allows you to run slightly different versions of the same landing page as part of a real-time test to determine which version elicits the best conversion rate from users. The tool integrates well with Google products to seamlessly determine the winning page and enable quick action on new learnings.  

Best use case? 

A/B testing. This tool is very straightforward and helps with decision making using statistical significance. Importantly though, account structure is critical in confidently determining a winning landing page per ad group/campaign; A/B tests must be deployed uniformly and with the proper tracking to fully capitalize on Optimizely’s findings. 

Screaming Frog – SEO Spider Tool 

Who should leverage this tool? 

Best for bigger websites with a high number of unique pages under the same web domain. 

Best use case? 

Screaming Frog is best for crawling your website to help improve site SEO; it audits site status, calls out pages with broken links, identifies redirects and duplicate content, and more. On Booyah’s Search team, we leverage Screaming Frog’s scripts to crawl the accounts to confirm all advertising links are active and error-free. Through automation, Screaming Frog lends efficiency to monitoring customer flow through your site and prevents users from encountering frustrating experiences when they’re ready to convert. 

Booyah Takes Your Data to The Next Level 

From access to tools to speaking with experts who know how to make the most of these tools, Booyah’s Search team can take your ads accounts to the next level. Learn more about our Paid Media services or contact us today! 

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