Google Choose The Top 30 UK Digital Agencies

We interview Robert Craven about his work with Google, and can reveal the full list of the 30 best digital agencies in the UK.

The 30 agencies come in all shapes and sizes and from across all areas of Great Britain. Common features of the agencies selected include a commitment to invest in staff development, and a positioning at the cutting edge of Google products. Robert was able to reveal more detail:

“Google selected the top 30 using factors such as; current high performance in their field, and having demonstrated the most potential to develop to the next stage of their growth. – Robert Craven.”

As part of the program, we schedule calls with Robert where he asks probing questions and gets to the root of the challenges that we currently face.

At the end of our phone call we turned the questioning on its head and took the opportunity to ask Robert a few questions of our own. His answers are eye-opening!

We interview Robert Craven about his work with Google, and can reveal the full list of the 30 best digital agencies in the UK.

The 30 agencies come in all shapes and sizes and from across all areas of Great Britain. Common features of the agencies selected include a commitment to invest in staff development, and a positioning at the cutting edge of Google products. Robert was able to reveal more detail:

Google selected the top 30 using factors such as; current high performance in their field, and having demonstrated the most potential to develop to the next stage of their growth. – Robert Craven.

As part of the program, we schedule calls with Robert where he asks probing questions and gets to the root of the challenges that we currently face.

At the end of our phone call we turned the questioning on its head and took the opportunity to ask Robert a few questions of our own. His answers are eye-opening!

 

An Interview with Robert Craven

Hello Robert, now it’s time for us to ask you some questions.
Fire away.

Firstly, can you tell me about your work with Google?
My current work with Google is to lead a program designed specifically to help 30 high potential digital agencies transition to the next stage in their growth. The program is a bit like a market stall where the agencies can come and take from it to match their individual needs. I then individually engage with those business to help springboard them to the next level.

If all of the top 30 agencies could improve in one dimension, what would it be?
I’ve got a short answer and long answer.

The short answer is put up their prices. The reason that I say this is because it means you can create better quality work and it will allow you to work with people who truly value what you are doing. You can deliver a concierge service rather than a commodity product. It also separates you from the masses. There are thousands of reasons to put up prices. All the agencies on the programme are probably undercharging for their work.

The long answer is that you’re asking the wrong question! It’s the wrong question because there are three dimensions for all agencies to improve on.

Ok then, if all of the top 30 agencies could improve in three dimensions, what would they be?
1) Where the heck is my business going? Also known as strategy.
2) How on earth are we going to sell this stuff? Also known as marketing.
3) Why can’t we get on together better? Also known as teams and people. If you talk to a “normal” agency that simply plods along, they wake up every morning, open up their inbox, and work from that. They won’t have a marketing strategy; they simply take any work that comes in.

So how did Google select the top 30 agencies to work with in 2016?
They were selected from an original pool of Google Partners. Google selected the top 30 using factors such as; current high performance in their field, and having demonstrated the most potential to develop to the next stage of their growth. If you want more detail you’ll have to ask someone at Google, because I didn’t select you!

Good to know! Final question; you’re helping us to form a 3-year plan. What does your 3-year plan look like?
Very ambitious. We are switching from a ‘best kept secret’ model to a ‘high value adding’ program. This is based on a 2 year scaling strategy. We’ll be using the same systems, programmes and tools across the organisation, to deliver the same level of results.

It’s been a pleasure Robert, thanks for your time.
Likewise.

THE TOP 30 UK DIGITAL MARKETING COMPANIES

Below you can find the complete list of the top 30 digital agencies in the UK as chosen by Google. Take a look at what they do below and make sure to follow these market leaders on Twitter!

ACADEMIUM

@AcademiumUK
London

“Intelligent Education Marketing Solutions”

ACCURACAST

@AccuraCast
London

“London-based digital marketing agency. 12 Years of SEO, PPC, Display Advertising, Social Media & Mobile Marketing expertise.”

ANICCA

@aniccadigital
Leicester

“Anicca are a leading  agency based in Leicester, UK. Specialists in search, social and paid. “

 

CLICKOO UK

@ClickooUk
Manchester

“Hello! We are a multilingual & award-winning PPC experts. We create, manage and fine tune your Search & Social Media PPC campaigns so you get the most out of them”

 

CLIMBING TREES

@climbingtrees10
Essex

“We’re an online marketing company and Google Partner that help our clients be excellent. We mostly tweet industry news and other things we find interesting.”

 

THE FOUNTAIN TEAM

@FountainTeam
London & Norwich

“Fountain is a  digital agency that offers effective online lead generation through Evidence-Based Marketing”

 

HALLAM INTERNET

@HallamInternet
Nottingham

“Digital Marketing Agency offering SEO, social media marketing, PPC and more. Follow us for digital marketing tips and advice, or call us on 0115 948 0123.”

 

INFOTEX

@infotexuk
Suffolk, London & Yorkshire

“WebDesign And Marketing Company. We Specialise In Providing ,, & To A Variety Of Clients Locally & Worldwide”

 

KOOZAI

@Koozai
London & Southampton

“Koozai Ltd are a leading UK Digital Marketing Agency based in London and Southampton. Specialists in SEO, PPC, Social Media and Reputation Management.”

 

LEXISCLICK

@LexisClick
Bournemouth

“Full service  agency – Strategy and services to help your brand shine and grow through inbound customers”

 

LIBERTY MARKETING

@LibertyOnlineUK
Cardiff

“Vibrant Welsh digital marketing agency offering search engine optimisation (SEO), pay per click advertising (PPC), copywriting & social media marketing.”

 

FARKY RAFIQ

@farkyrafiq
Salisbury

“Digital Marketing Director”

 

LONELY ROBOT WEB DEV

@lonelyrobotweb
Hertfordshire

“Specialists in   and great looking, converting business websites! Please get in touch for a free quote.”

 

MAJOR MARKETING

@aGoogleGuru
Cornwall, Devon & Somerset

“Google Partner & Online Advertising Agency for SME’s. Focused on Digital Marketing for the best results. 

 

NAVIGATE DIGITAL

@navigatedigital
United Kingdom & Australia

“An independent digital media agency specialising in Affiliate Marketing, Media Planning & Buying, Paid Search & Social Media. IPA accredited.”

 

PERFECT STORM MEDIA

@PerfStomMedia
London

“Pay-per-Sale Search Engine Marketing innovators with a world-class Adwords management system”

 

POP CREATIVE LTD

@popcreative
Oswestry

“Pop Creative is a friendly Design Agency based in Shropshire specialising in Digital Media, Web Design, Web Management, SEO & Printing.”

 

PUSH GROUP MARKETING

@PushGroup
London

“The PPC Agency That Keeps You Ahead Focused on targeted traffic that converts to sales/leads.”

 

RECEPTIONAL

@Receptional
Bedfordshire & London

“UK based Digital Marketing Consultancy experts in SEO, PPC, Social Media, Link Building & Content. Super nice Tweeters.”

 

RED EFFECT MARKETING

@RedEffectLtd
Bristol, London & Monmouth

“A Paid Search & SEO agency – Genuine expertise with a friendly face! We’re also a Google Partner.”

 

RETURN ON DIGITAL

@returnondigital
Manchester & London

“We’re an award winning digital marketing agency. At Return on Digital, return isn’t just an end goal, it’s an all-consuming passion. 

 

SAGITTARIUS

@SagittariusMktg
Ashford & London

“Award winning digital agency providing solutions to UK and International based clients to develop, promote and champion their brands!”

 

SEO TRAFFIC LAB

@seotrafficlab
Gainsborough

“Lincolnshire based digital marketing agency, experts in &. Talking , and the future of .”

 

SOAP MEDIA

@soapmedia
Manchester & Preston

“Award-winning digital marketing agency combining commercial thinking with technical brilliance in web design & dev, search marketing, and lead generation.”

 

SOCIAL RESPONSE

@Social_Response
Bristol

“We are the full package when it comes to. Follow for tweets on & news. Based on Lower Park Row.”

 

TANDEM DIGITAL

@tandem_digital
Edinburgh

“Edinburgh-based digital marketing agency. Marketing nous meets digital geekery. Channel agnostic, we bend digital to client objectives.”

 

TICTOC

@tictocdigital
Glasgow & London

“We spend our days creating digital strategies, websites, microsites, mobile apps, digital marketing strategies & learning all there is to know about the web!”

 

XANTHOS DIGITAL

@XanthosDigital
Cambridgeshire

“Stay ahead of competitors with our Digital Updates and Resources. We are a Digital Marketing and Web Design Agency specialising in Ecommerce Site Development.”

 

XELSION

@XelsionMedia
London

“A real-time bidding media services & technology company.”

The Quick Guide To Merging Multiple Facebook Pages

Company Facebook pages are a great way to boost your brand awareness and interact with customers on a personal level. Ensuring that your brand is well represented on this social media platform should be a focus and users need to be given a reason to follow your brand. When doing this you may be managing multiple Facebook pages. However, this can be time consuming and difficult to do so.

Google’s Top 3 Ranking Factors

We have long wondered “how does google rank search results!?” and now we know! Google have kept pretty quiet about how they rank websites and SEO website … Moz even runs a Search Engine Ranking Factors survey with their latest being from 2015.

What Factors Affect Organic Facebook Reach?

As I’m sure most people are all too aware of, achieving organic Facebook reach for your business is now harder than ever. There are many rumours surrounding… the subject, but are they all true?

How we increased Shoe Zone’s AdWords ROI by 196% in just one month

Today, we’ll show you step-by-step how Limelight Digital helped Shoe Zone plc to achieve the best AdWords returns in its history.

Online shoe retail is a highly competitive space. Large shoe retailers bid against each other to appear at the top of Google’s popular searches for specific phrases. Direct competitors for Shoe Zone’s search phrases include; Asda, Debenhams, Next, Schuh, Monsoon and many more. Each company has to carefully manage their advertising spend to ensure it provides a strong ROI.

This is a common situation for many of our clients at Limelight Digital We use all our experience and knowledge (as accredited Google Partners) to find the best solution.

In this case study, we’ll show you EXACTLY how we achieved an increased ROI by 196%, step-by-step.

So, how did Limelight Digital almost double Shoe Zone’s AdWords ROI in November 2015?

In June 2015, Shoe Zone’s AdWords were converting at 2 x ROI, essentially this means that for every £1 of Google advertising cost, Shoe Zone made £2 in additional revenue.

Shoe Zone calculated that to achieve financial targets it required a 3 x ROI.  In this competitive space, that level of increase is not an easy challenge.

Using our expertise, in November we tripled the 2 x ROI they were typically achieving, increasing it to a 6 x ROI. The client was, of course, thrilled.

And here’s how we did it….

Step 1 – Identify the best placement for adverts

From June to October we optimised adverts in the highly competitive bidding at the top of search results. We saw month on month small gains by doing this.

However, the huge stepped change (196% in one month) occurred in November, so what did we do?

We identified Google’s Shopping campaigns as a more appropriate placement, with the following benefits:

  • Lower cost per click
  • An image of the shoes appears in search results
  • A higher conversion rate to buy (once visitors land on the website)

Here’s an example of how Google’s Shopping adverts appear:

Step 2 – Optimise keywords for campaigns

Google Shopping campaigns work quite differently from normal AdWords campaigns. Normally, we define the keywords to target and write our own titles and descriptions for the adverts. However, Google Shopping automatically selects product titles and descriptions directly from the website. In theory, this should make it easier to set up.

However, to maximise ROI, product titles and descriptions must be re-written to appear in search results and increase website conversion.

To achieve this we worked closely with Shoe Zone to edit custom labels to create helpful descriptions which are in line with how their target audience search and buy.

Here’s an example of the finished advert – all content is provided from the product titles and description information, hosted on the Shoe Zone website.

Step 3 – Targeting a specific audience

Shoe Zone has over 10,000 SKU’s on its website, we are able to target specific shoe types to maximise ROI. To achieve this, we replicated the website structure into the product feed so we can filter what we are targeting down to individual product types.

Filters include:

  • gender
  • types of shoes
  • season
  • limited stock/ plenty of stock
  • in sale/ not in sale
  • increase conversion rate

We can also filter out certain SKU’s. For example, if the product is flagged as ‘limited distribution’. This ensures Shoe Zone does not waste marketing spend on SKU’s that are unavailable.

Conclusion

By optimising Google Shopping campaigns we were able to almost double Shoe Zone’s ROI in just one month.

This case study requires the following health warning:

Not all e-commerce websites respond to Google Shopping in the same way, but with our skill and experience, you will see improvements.

We’ve been in the digital marketing industry for long enough to know that all businesses are unique and need bespoke solutions.

Unlike most agencies, Limelight Digital spends time to continually optimising AdWords accounts to achieve business objectives. As accredited Google Partners we learn about new Google products before the majority of other agencies and have a superb team of qualified Google professionals on hand to work closely with you through every step of the campaign.

If you are interested in taking your PPC account to the next level, call the team on 01509 631 136 or email [email protected] and let’s chat about your ambitions and how we can help.

7 Digital Marketing Trends You Need To Know For 2020

2020 is here, not only is it a new year but it’s also a new decade. In the 2010s, marketing made huge strides with the introduction of Facebook Ads, Instagram’s IGTV, new techniques of SEO and much more. 

With a new decade means new technologies and trends. We delve into the marketing trends you need to know for 2020.

Customer Experience

We’re already seeing shifts in beliefs about what marketing actually is, so we’re expecting 2020 to be the year of the customer. It’s now not all about convincing people to buy from your company but prioritising fantastic customer service that keeps customers coming back. By building a positive business culture and providing great customer service the marketing side almost takes care of itself.

With the introduction of chatbots, providing customer service has never been easier. Modern-day websites are adding the chatbot feature to allow customers to get an instant response which is usually quicker than email. This is increasingly popular with Millenials as they prefer digital conversation over having a live conversation as it’s almost instant. 

Providing excellent customer service is a great way to get the word out about your company without it even costing you a penny. 

Visual Content

Research has shown that people prefer visual content to plain text. Just look at the growth of image and video-focused platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, TikTok and YouTube. Images already account for 19% of searches on Google and 62% of millennials have already stated they are more interested in visual search than anything else. 

Creating exciting and enticing images, infographics, animation and video will not only help your brand stand out but will also help you build links as other websites are now more willing to host images over the written word. 

(We bet you’ll remember this infographic)

Voice Search

With the introduction of smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home, Voice Searches are on the rise. It is predicted that at the end of 2021 there will be more than 1.6 billion people using voice searches on a regular basis. 

It might be time to consider implementing a voice search for your upcoming marketing strategy.

Interactive Content

Want your audience to engage in your product, website or social ad? Interactive Content could be the key to this. It helps to form a conversation in which you don’t have to actively participate. 

Creating interactive content doesn’t have to be difficult, it could be as simple as offering free, instant quotes allowing the user to fill in a form to go to the next stage and then they will receive a quote via email. 

The online digital media company, Buzzfeed seems to dominate the online world with internet quizzes which can be silly or controversial but this always creates a conversation with users. In fact, one quiz once got over 22 million views. 

It’s human nature to interact with something so why not use this to your advantage?

Smart Bidding in Google Ads

Smart Bidding is a set of automated bid strategies in Google Ads that use machine learning to maximise conversions. Google looks at historical search behaviour and contextual data to predict the likelihood of conversion and then increases your bids when a conversion appears more likely. 

Google’s Smart bidding strategies allow your campaigns to utilize the data it collects over time so your ads appear in front of customers that have shown more intent. If a particular keyword converts well, it will be prioritised. If users in a certain Geographical location are converting well, that location will be prioritized. If users convert better at a particular time of day or day of the month, this will affect the bidding. And so on..

Smart Display

Smart Display campaigns are available on the Google Display network. You upload your Display Banners, assign a landing page and then Google takes over the targeting. A negative to these campaigns can be that there isn’t much visualisation on what targeting is working and what’s not. But, from our experience, they work really well!

Smart Shopping

Smart shopping campaigns allow advertisers to run product listing adverts across multiple platforms such as: Search, Display, Youtube & Gmail. Smart shopping campaigns take into account key user interests, demographics, users who have already visited the website to optimise & retarget products to those who are most interested/likely to purchase. This campaign type is fully automated using smart bidding & works cross-platform to gain the best possible ROI for e-commerce.

Smart Campaigns 

Another new campaign type that has been made available in recent months is the Smart Campaigns. These campaigns utilise call extensions and map listings to help drive footfall to your Google my Business locations. 

Personalisation

In the old days when Blockbuster still existed, the guy behind the counter would know your name as you visited so often on a Saturday night. In the digital age personalisation is a powerful tool where a company knows what you are planning on buying before you’ve even thought about it. Changing a merge tag through emails is an easy way to add personalisation.

For example: sending an email through Mailchimp with the merge tag *|FNAME|* will automatically change the name in the email to the one that is listed in the mailing list. Thus making the recipient feel like the email was sent one by one by the company they have subscribed to.

Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, Emails, and Rewards and Incentives are a great way to make the user feel like the whole digital world is personalised for them. Making the user feel like you’re talking to them personally is a great marketing technique and has been around for decades. 

VR and AR Marketing

AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) are quickly becoming more common within marketing, allowing brands to change standard marketing into a completely interactive experience. 

Many people have the assumption that VR is strictly for video gamers and something that requires a heavy investment in technology to enjoy the virtual experience. However, this isn’t the case as now most people have their own little VR device in their pocket. VR marketing allows companies to bridge the gap between experience and action helping to promote products as a digital experience in place of a physical one. 

Inviting your customer along for the journey will really help to engage your customers as they will be invested in the product alongside the company. 

AR is now an emerging trend in marketing and sales strategies. It allows customers to have a unique experience within the convenience of tapping into their mobile devices. By using AR, businesses will eventually be able to upgrade the experience they offer customers leading to business opportunities and brand awareness. 

Brands can use AR to allow customers to try their products before they buy them. A good example of this is Glasses Direct Virtual Try-On. This allows customers the opportunity to try on a style of glasses before they buy the product. The website scans the users face creating virtual reality and then they can choose the glasses. 

AR is not a new technology but has come on since the launch of Pokemon GO! with more people willing to interact with augmented and virtual reality. 

So there you have it, our top picks of digital marketing trends to watch out for in 2020. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.

Influencer Marketing Case Study – Lumity

How we helped Beauty & Skincare brand, Lumity connect with their audience and drive sales by utilising Influencer Marketing

Objectives

  • Improve Brand Awareness
  • Increase Website Traffic
  • Drive Website Sales

 

In early 2019, Lumity came to Limelight with the task of growing their online presence and increasing direct sales through the website.

We required a super-tailored approach to the campaigns that we were to run to ensure a strong ROI as the competitiveness of the industry meant a blanket approach would ultimately lead to wasted spend.

Our focus was to get Flagship Product, the popular Anti-Ageing Supplements, in front of Lumity’s target audience of wealthy, older females by understanding where they were found online and which influencers were most trusted and respected in this niche.

As a new beauty brand entering an incredibly competitive and developed industry, Lumity understood that as opposed to other forms of Marketing, Digital offered them a realistic and affordable way of challenging established brands and reaching hyper-targeted audiences.

Even within Online Marketing, typical promotion such as features on national publication websites would require a huge budget and is usually a reserve for only the biggest, established brands.

Rather than try and compete in this manner which was financially unviable, we had to find a medium-ground of respected Influencers and Bloggers with large, very specific audiences that would lead to sales at a reasonable cost.

Whether we targeted Influencers with popular blogs, huge Social Media followings, interesting YouTube channels or helpful podcasts, the bottom line was always relevance and return on investment.

Since we started connecting with these Influencers and even bringing onboard respected figures in the industry as ‘Brand Ambassadors’ we’ve not only helped Lumity increase sales but we’ve also helped increase referral traffic to the website and improved overall brand awareness.

Take a look at just a select few of the great Influencer Coverage we have got for Lumity so far:

Blogger Reviews

Social Coverage

Video Reviews

 

The Results

Since we started to gather Blogger/Video Reviews and Social Coverage in Summer/Autumn 2019, there has been a noticeable increase in website traffic, transaction revenue and the website has even begun to start ranking well for priority keywords in Search Engines such as Google.

  • Social shares from the Influencers mentioning Lumity have reached a combined audience of over 37k targeted followers
  • Website traffic has improved YoY for 4 out of the 5 previous months since we started Influencer Marketing
  • Transaction Revenue was up 9% YoY as of December 2019

We continue to work with Lumity and plan to implement an even more ambitious Influencer Marketing Strategy in 2020 and beyond as they look to grow further, especially by marketing their Anti Ageing Supplements in the US market.

For more information on how we can help you with Influencer Marketing or any other form of Digital Marketing please get in touch, or whilst you’re here, why not read more of our Case Studies

How TikTok is Changing Marketing Strategies

With over 1.5 billion users, TikTok is fast becoming one of the giant social media networks chasing the heels of Twitter, Facebook and main rivals Instagram and Snapchat.

Brands are now aware of the presence of TikTok and are starting to factor them into upcoming marketing campaigns but what is TikTok and how can it benefit businesses.

What is TikTok

TikTok has come after the sad demise of Vine. Vine was a platform based on short videos and TikTok is no different. Videos can be up to 15 seconds long, but users can connect multiple clips together to create a 60-second video or use videos recorded outside of the app to upload a longer video. 

There is also a live-streaming option (like Facebook and Instagram) and a range of filters and tools to help improve your video presentation. Originally starting its journey as Musical.ly it rebranded in 2018 to TikTok but still kept the same concept of incorporating music into videos. As TikTok has grown so has the number of videos and the different trends. Creating videos with music is now not the only genre of video you can find on the app as viral challenges, such as the #BottleCapChallenge, are what keeps bringing people back to the app.

Brands and Marketers: How to make TikTok tick for you

TikTok isn’t going anywhere soon so brands and marketers are working on how to utilise the popular app to reach out to a wider audience. Below are the benefits of TikTok.

Reach a Younger Audience

The majority of TikTok’s users are part of the Gen Z generation with 60% of the app’s monthly users are 16-24-year-olds. TikTok is considered a great platform to reach the younger generation as they move away from traditional sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Popular music acts such as BTS and Ariana Grande have unlocked the potential of this new platform and are using it as a new way to talk to their target audience whilst still getting exposure.

@bts_official_bighit🕴HAPPY🕴HALLOWEEN🕴#Halloween #할로윈#BTS #JIN #진 #SUGA #슈가 #RM #알엠♬ 오리지널 사운드 – BTS

Brands have realised that they can use the free platform for free brand awareness. Elf Cosmetics use the platform to promote products as well as fun content to their 9.3k followers, whereas UK based gym clothing brand GymShark use the platform to promote workouts, challenges and fun content involving their staff whilst still staying on brand. It’s important when it comes to the younger audience that you make quick content that is easy to digest as we now live in a fast pace world. 

@gymsharkSliding into your crushes dm’s like 🤗 demibagby #goforgold #gymshark #gymshark66 #beconfident #foryou♬ No Idea – Don Toliver

Marketing But Not As We Know It

In the past marketing has always been about getting links and exposure but TikTok changes the way we look at this as it’s not about building links, it’s just about brand awareness and fun content.

Profiles don’t even contain standard links so brands are unable to link off to their website so they have to hope that the content is fun and enjoyable so that the user will naturally head off to their website. 

However, it was announced in November that TikTok is testing a new feature which will allow users to add a shoppable URL to their bios or videos, allowing users to buy products without leaving the app. This will change the way TikTok currently works with brands and enable free links. 

Influencers

Influencers are nothing new in the marketing world and it would only be a matter of time before certain stars of TikTok would arise from the platform. Some of the biggest influencers on the platform at the moment are Loren Gray, Baby Ariel and Jacob Sartorius. The influencers are all under 30 which makes them more appealing to TikTok’s target audience.

@lorengraysometimes u just gotta transition into a onesie 🙈 justdancegameus #justdancemoves #justdance2020 #ad♬ original sound – lorengray

However, brands haven’t really grasped how to promote through the influencers as, without a link to a product/website, there is no real benefit for brands at this moment in time. 

Not so serious

The important thing to remember about TikTok is that it is not a serious platform. All the videos on there are fun and short. Although music remains the heart of TikTok, it has quickly become a place for edgy, alternative comedy – similar to its predecessor, Vine. Humour is a powerful weapon when it comes to connecting to potential customers on an emotional level. TikTok is essentially a fun and culturally relative app, perfect for those who don’t want to take themselves too seriously. 

Even though TikTok is still considered new in comparison to its rivals, it continues to grow in popularity. The important thing to note is that if you are aiming to reach a younger audience then TikTok should definitely be considered in your next marketing strategy.

The 43 Best PPC Management Tools As Voted For By Experts

Paid advertisements are a great way to drive targeted traffic and relevant people to a website.

However, if you’re new to the PPC game or have not optimised your campaigns to their full potential you could be throwing money away!

There’s a whole bunch of management tools out there that can help with optimising your PPC campaigns but how do you know which ones are the best?

In this article, I asked 21 PPC experts for the tools that they could not live without.

Their answers include a wide range of free, paid and free trial option tools. Take a look…

 

1. EXCEL (PAID)

– As recommended by Melissa Mackey of Gyro, Amy Bishop of Clix Marketing, Philip Wendell of Click Click Media, Heather Cooan of Infusionsoft, Aaron Levy of Elite SEM, Lisa Sanner of Point It, Kirk Williams of ZATO Marketing, Euan Brock of Screaming Frog and Christi Olson founder of iSEM Consulting

We’ve all used Microsoft Excel at some point in our online lives.

You may be forgiven for thinking that there’s not a great deal it can do to help improve the efficiency of a PPC campaign… but you’d be very wrong!

Knowing the ins and outs of Excel and fully utilising it is crucial for creating and understanding data whether you’re just starting out with PPC or you’re a fully-fledged expert (as proven by Excel claiming top spot!).

I couldn’t live without Excel. I love it and I’m always looking for more ways to expand my Excel expertise.” – Amy Bishop of Clix Marketing.

 

2. ADWORDS EDITOR (FREE)

– As recommended by Justin Freid of CMI Media, Kirk Williams of ZATO Marketing, Melissa Mackey of Gyro, Amy Bishop of Clix Marketing, Philip Wendell of Click Click Media, Aaron Levy of Elite SEM, Euan Brock of Screaming Frog and Christi Olson founder of iSEM Consulting

Ooh so close! Number 2 in our list is the free AdWords Editor.

Needing to make mass changes to an account? Wanting to implement a new AdWords feature across all your accounts to improve their performance? AdWords Editor is THE ultimate time saver and you can even carry on working when offline.

Working in the agency world, being able to quickly update ad text, make bid changes, add/remove ad text or keywords in a short period of time can help tremendously. – Justin Freid of CMI/Compas.

 

3. GOOGLE ANALYTICS (FREEMIUM)

– As recommended by Larry Kim of WordStream, Amy Bishop of Clix Marketing, Lisa Sanner of Point It and Euan Brock of Screaming Frog.

Another Google product and another firm favourite for those in the know when it comes to PPC; Google Analytics is a crucial tool.

Well over 10 million websites across the world use ‘GA’ and there are hundreds of reasons why. You can track everything from organic website visits to the demographics of users who click a certain button on a Wednesday afternoon, for example. Potent.

Analytics is great for looking at accurate ecommerce data related to campaigns as well as helping provide insight to building new campaigns and looking at top performing pages/products. – Euan Brock of Screaming Frog

 

4. SEMRUSH (PAID)

– As recommended by Zac JohnsonMona Elesseily of Page Zero Media, Phillip Wendell of Click Click Media and Christi Olson founder of iSEM Consulting

SEMrush is an industry favourite for both SEO and PPC insights. This versatile, competitive intelligence suite has a multitude of paid features.

You can use SEMRush to generate analytics reports that allow for understanding your competitors’ strategies, utilise powerful tools to estimate keyword difficulty and cross-examine many domains all in one nicely-presented package.

SEMrush is an extremely versatile service with a great selection of analytical reports and tools for Organic, Paid and PLA competitive research. Why learn from your mistakes when you can benefit from your competitors’ success? Yulia Shevardenkova of SEMRush.

 

5. BING EDITOR (FREE)

– As recommended by Aaron Levy of Elite SEM, Kirk Williams – ZATO Marketing, Melissa Mackey – Gyro and Christi Olson founder of iSEM Consulting

Not quite matching up to it’s Google rival when it comes to votes from the experts, it’s Bing’s Ads Editor. Just like it’s AdWords cousin, the Bing editor allows the user to make huge changes to your campaigns in one fell swoop and upload them in bulk.

“For working with any level of volume, the editors are simply unbeatable in making changes en masse.” – Aaron Levy of Elite SEM

 

6. ADALYSIS (PAID)

-As recommended by Chris Haleua of Adobe, Melissa Mackey of Gyro and Christi Olson founder of iSEM Consulting

AdAlysis is a hugely powerful advert testing platform for AdWords that offers a 30 day free trial. The tool allows you to easily find advert insights, increase workflow, automate tests and much more. This tool was one of the favourite ad testing tools amongst experts.

“AdAlysis is my favourite PPC tool for testing” – Chris Haleua of Adobe.

 

7. ADWORDS SCRIPTS (FREE)

– Sam Hurley of Midas Media, Euan Brock of Screaming Frog and Christi Olson, founder of iSEM Consulting

Google AdWords Scripts are an amazingly efficient and underrated way of optimising your campaigns. Not only can you generate historical Quality Score reports and automate account health check ups, you can also find underperforming keywords and use insights to improve them.

A great time saver if you’ve inherited a large account. See all broken links in a simple spreadsheet report. – Sam Hurley of Midas Media

 

8. GOOGLE KEYWORD PLANNER (FREE)

– As recommended by Margot da Cunha of WordStream and Ryan Lees of Limelight Digital

In at number eight is Google AdWords Keyword Planner which allows you to get keyword ideas, see performance insights and generally plan Search Network campaigns.

We’re just surprised this isn’t higher up on our list as Keyword Planner is many an Expert’s go-to for keyword and ad group ideas, as well as historical data. It’s also completely free to use.

Keyword Planner is a great tool for researching keyword variations and taking your AdWords account further than just the broad search terms. It’s also great for seeing average search volumes, competition & average CPC’s around a variety of keywords. – Ryan Lees of Limelight Digital

 

9. FACEBOOK POWER EDITOR (FREE)

– As recommended by Michelle Morgan of Clix Marketing and Heather Cooan
of Infusionsoft
Facebook’s very own ‘Power Editor’ tool allows the user to create multiple ads at one time and have ‘precise control of their campaigns’. However, it’s recommended that if you don’t have to create hundreds of ads at a time, you should simply use Adverts Manager instead.

Power Editor is only currently supported in the Google Chrome browser but it’s completely free to download.

Facebook campaigns used to be pretty laborious but the new editor makes things so much easier and allows for easy scaling through campaign duplication. Definitely a must for Facebook (and Instagram) advertisers! –Michelle Morgan of Clix Marketing

 

10. BING ADS INTELLIGENCE (FREE)

-As recommended by John Gagnon of Microsoft and Chris Haleua of Adobe

Bing Ads Intelligence is a keyword research tool that allows you to easily digest the performance of keywords on the Yahoo Bing Network.

It’s free to download and allows you to work with keyword lists of up to 200,000 words, align ads with Bing’s policies, tailor your bidding strategy and much more. No wonder so many PPC Experts loved this tool!

Bing Ads Intelligence gives search marketers insane details no other tool does. Want to know the number of clicks in position two for the keyword [cheap auto insurance] or the number of searchers 25-34? The data comes straight from the search engine. – John Gagnon of Bing

 

11. OPTMYZR (PAID)

As recommended by Mona Elesseily of Page Zero Media and Kirk Williams of ZATO Marketing

Optmyzr is a leading Google AdWords optimisation tool for advertisers, consultants, and agencies alike. It offers a Quality Score tracker, landing page checker and a free trial! What’s not to love?

Me and my cofounders saw the challenges of managing AdWords and Bing Ads first-hand while working at Google and at PPC agencies. We set out to create the equivalent of a swiss army knife for PPC so that account managers could do common optimisation and reporting tasks in a fraction of the time other tools would take. – Frederick Vallaeys of Optmyzr

 

12. ACQUISIO (PAID)

As recommended by Mona Elesseily of Page Zero Media and Lisa Sanner of Point It

Acquisio is a popular search marketing platform that enables the user to optimise campaigns as well as offering the ability to report on social, mobile, and display initiatives.

Having reportedly hired a rocket scientist to help design the program, Acquisio claim that: ‘It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to use the Acquisio search marketing platform. It did, however, take one to design it.” Awesome!

13. SPYFU (FREEMIUM)

– as recommended by Sam Hurley of Midas Media and Christi Olson of iSEM Consulting
Spyfu is a brilliant tool for competitor research and both PPC and SEO insights due to the huge database of information that it possesses. See adverts, sources and keywords for over 300 million sites in a concise and smoothly designed interface.

If I’m pitching a new client and need to do competitive research I can’t live without access to SpyFu to dig into apx budgets, keyword lists, and ad copy variations.- Christi Olson of iSEM Consulting

 

14 – 42: THE BEST OF THE REST

The following tools all received a single mention each from one of our experts but no PPC Management tools list would be complete without them!

Check them out…

POWER MAP FOR EXCEL (FREE)

– as recommended by John Gagnon of Microsoft and Chris Haleua of Adobe

Microsoft Power Map for Excel is a 3D data visualisation tool that allows for analysing data in a totally unique manner

Plot geographic data on a 3D globe, display it over time, create visual tours and much more all in one handy tool!

AUDIENCE INSIGHTS WITHIN FACEBOOK ADS TOOL (FREE)

Facebook has the richest data out there, which includes point of sale, your matched email and web customer files, and their behaviors. It’s not just what they like or did on Facebook like a few years ago. This the equivalent of showrooming, where you can try on stuff for free in the store and then go buy it elsewhere.” – Dennis Yu of BlitzMetrics

 

SUNNY REPORTS (PAID)

– as recommended by Ryan Lees of Limelight Digital

SunnyReports helps you to automate customisable and professional AdWords reports. With the ability to easily add the statistics and visualisations that you want and build reusable reports, SunnyReports takes the hassle out of reporting.

DOUBLECLICK SEARCH EXECUTIVE REPORTING (PAID)

When looking to understand market trends, consumer behavior and other cross account trends, Doubleclick Search’s Executive Reporting tool has been extremely helpful. I can easily aggregate information from all or select accounts and splice the data any way I want. This eliminates the need to mess around with large excel files and gets me the information I need quickly to look at SEM from a holistic viewpoint. Justin Freid – CMI Media

 

UNBOUNCE (PAID)

the tool I use for landing pages, it is easy to use, implement, optimise, and create. It’s also very affordable. Kirk Williams – ZATO Marketing

 

BIZBIBLE (PAID)

Bizible allows you to see your campaign data alongside your Marketo data to easily track leads and spend to closed customers. This has made my life much easier when making optimizations in my lead gen accounts. – Michelle Morgan – Clix Marketing

 

SEOBOOK’S PPC AD KEYWORD WRAPPER + PHRASE BUILDER COMBO (BOTH FREE)

Plug all your existing keyword ideas into Phrase Builder which concatenates them, creating brand new experimental terms. Now, copy this list and enter it into Keyword Wrapper to quickly grab every combination of broad, phrase and exact match. See how they each perform in AdWords and apply the search terms report. The broads can be used to investigate elusive, less competitive terms which achieve clicks. Boom! – Sam Hurley Midas Media

 

MERGE WORDS (FREE)

– Ryan Lees – Limelight Digital

Great for building out campaigns with longer tailed keyword variations and doing it quickly. For example, adding location keywords onto the end of a bulk amount of broad keywords in one go. – Ryan Lees of Limelight Digital

 

ADSTAGE (PAID)

AdStage is one of the few campaign management solutions out there that has LinkedIn API access. In AdStage, we’re able to see LinkedIn performance and track conversions. AdStage has been a major victory for my clients who advertise in that channel and want to actually track through to a conversionMichelle Morgan – Clix Marketing

 

KEYWORDTOOL.IO (FREE)

Search Query reports are the oil changes of PPC. They need to be done on a regular basis to both prevent problems and improve performance. Using a suggestion tool like Keywordtool.io can get a lot of the work out of the way ahead of time. It’s a common tool for positive research, but underused for proactive negative keyword research. Insert your search term, remove it from the results and see what junk you want to exclude ahead of time. –Aaron Levy – Elite SEM

 

MARIN (FREEMIUM)

– as recommended by Lisa Sanner of Point It

Marin Software is a cross-channel advertising platform that allows you to Optimize your Search, Social & Display ads across channels and devices.

With Marin you can simplify your workday and ‘Win the battle for revenue across search, display, social & mobile.’

SYSOMOS (FREEMIUM)

My agency currently utilizes Sysomos (for social listening), and by tapping in and understanding what your target audience is talking about on social media can help you find new keywords and phrases to target both through paid search and content/organic that may not be spit out by Google’s Keyword Planner.
Justin Freid – CMI Media

 

ADWORDS WRAPPER (FREE)

– Ryan Lees – Limelight Digital

AdWords Wrapper speeds up the process of keyword wrapping and makes life a lot easier when building out your ad groups with a variety of keyword match types. – Ryan Lees of Limelight Digital

 

SEARCH TERMS REPORT (FREE)

-As recommended by Margot da Cunha – WordStream
Search Terms Report is less a standalone tool and more a feature within Google AdWords that helps marketers fine-tune their campaigns.

Utilising Google’s Search Terms Report helps you to understand the searches that are triggering your adverts and helps you to learn what the intentions of the users performing those searches are.

KENSHOO (PAID)

– As recommended by Lisa Sanner of Point It

Kenshoo is a huge name in Digital Marketing and in 2015, brands will reportedly generate over $350 billion in sales through their award-winning ‘Infinity Suite’.

Kenshoo also claims that each second, web users click 4,000 Kenshoo-served ads across the world. Those stats don’t lie!

WORDSTREAM’S 20 MINUTE WORK WEEK (FREE)

– as recommended by Margot da Cunha of WordStream

WordStream has created a great little checklist, accompanied by a handy video, that helps you optimise your PPC accounts.

They have produced a workflow guide outlining the tasks that will make the most impact on your bottom line.

FACEBOOK AD PLANNER (FREE)

– as recommended by Larry Kim of WordStream

Facebook Ads are notorious for their precise, laser targeting and ability to target the exact demographic that you wish to view and engage with your brand.

Facebook Adverts Manager is the social media giant’s very own tool for managing adverts and analysing their performance. There is now an Adverts Manager app, too.

OPTIMIZELY (PAID)

– as recommended by John Gagnon of Microsoft

Optimizely, or Optimisely if we’re using the Queen’s English ;), is an enterprise-level A/B testing platform that helps you personalise and optimise pages across desktop, mobile web and mobile apps.

Used by such high profile companies as Sony, The New York Times and NBCUniversal, there’s no doubting it’s prowess!

BOOMERANG FOR GMAIL (FREEMIUM)

Boomerang helps you empty your inbox by adding scheduled sending and integrated email reminders to Gmail.

Tracking client correspondence is as important as optimising campaigns –Dennis Yu of BlitzMetrics

 

BASECAMP (PAID)

– as recommended by Dennis Yu of BlitzMetrics
Basecamp is one of the most respected project management and collaboration tools out there. If you’re working on a collaborative PPC campaign and want to share information or changes made in the account then Basecamp is perfect!

Features include: To-dos, files, messages, schedules, milestones and much more.

CHANGE HISTORY (FREE)

– as recommended by Heather Cooan of Infusionsoft

Another feature of AdWords rather than an individual tool, Change History is a hugely underused view that can be found in the ‘Tools’ menu.

The tool lets you see changes in the campaign such as when it was paused, which user added or removed keywords and budget changes.

MONITOR BACKLINKS (PAID)

– as recommended by Zac Johnson

PPC Experts can analyse where their site is ranking in Google and based on the search volume, competition and CPC decide what keywords should be optimized more for PPC. In Monitor Backlinks, you can also see where competitors are ranking organically for the same keywords. Felix Tarcomnicu of Monitor Backlinks

 

GOOGLE ANALYTICS SOLUTIONS GALLERY (FREE)

as recommended by Elizabeth Marsten of CommerceHub

The Google Analytics Solutions Gallery features dashboards, custom reports, segments and other insights to help you make the most of Google Analytics and utilise the data provided.

This tool is great for both PPC newbies and experts alike and is another tool that is greatly underrated.

US CENSUS DATA (FREE)

As recommended by Elizabeth Marsten of CommerceHub

Data is always vital when it comes to starting a PPC Campaign and the more you can gather together the better.

Whilst the United States Census Bureau’s website might not be everyone’s go to PPC ‘tool’ of choice, reliable data is a huge commodity online in 2015!

ADOBE MEDIA OPTIMIZER (PAID)

– as recommended by Chris Haleua of Adobe

Adobe Media Optimizer is an ad-buying solution that allows marketers to choose the best mix of ads depending on your budget.

It’s automatable and even suggests the best way to deliver the content to your audience. Take a look.

LONG TAIL PRO (PAID)

– as recommended by Zac Johnson

Long Tail Pro is the keyword research software that enables marketers to find the best long tail keyword ideas. Boasting over 70,000 users, this competitor analysis software has a multitude of features including, but not limited to, pay-per-click analysis, real-time filtering and a rank checker.

GOOGLE PLANNING TOOLS (FREE)

Google has a variety of planning tools on their ‘Think with Google’ site that is great for road mapping any campaign, especially a PPC one. For example, Google Trends uses real-time search engine data to help you understand user search patterns. The ‘Consumer Barometer’ tool displays the source of purchases and details the process from start to finish.

My favourite collection of tools is Google’s Planning Tools, especially Trends & the Consumer Barometer, as they can help you understand an audience. Adam Devlin of Google

 

KEYWORD MACHINE

– as recommended by Ryan Lees of Limelight Digital

Keyword Machine is a powerful and easy to use PPC tool for search marketers that specialises in improving ad relevance, accelerating campaign builds and improving ad copywriting.

Which is your favourite PPC management tool?

A Guide To Google Analytics Attribution Models

If you were wondering which attribution model to use for your business, there might not be a correct answer. An attribution model is a tool in Analytics and Google Ads that can be used to assign credit to the different touch-points on a path to conversion. Understanding your customer buying behaviour is important.

Let’s quickly compare 2 products and the paths a customer might take before finally making a purchase.

 

Product: Mobile Phone Charger

A mobile phone charger is a low risk purchase and requires little research. When buying online, a customer is unlikely to do much research and make a decision relatively quickly.

Product 2: New Car

On the opposite side of the scale, a new car would be classed as a high risk purchase and requires a lot more research. If the customer doesn’t know what they want, they need to do some digging. Consider the various options that are available within their budget. Then from there, they may find a few options. Once they have a shortlist of cars, they then need to find where the value is. Which has the least mileage? Which colour do they like the best? They might then take it for a test drive. The cycle may take weeks or even months before the customer makes a purchase.

The key takeaway here is that some products are more important to a buyer than others and the journey they take to reach the end of the funnel can look very different. So from an organisational perspective, there are questions to be answered.

Where did the customer first come into contact with us?

What was the last touch point before the sale was closed?

How many times did they visit your site in between and through what channels?

It can be quite hard for all parties to come to an agreement on which attribution model is best, as everyone wants to take credit for the acquisition. So what is the best option? Let’s dive into the different models and review some scenarios where they would fit well.

 

Last Click Attribution

How it works?

A Last Click Attribution assigns all the credit for a conversion to a single touchpoint, can you guess which one? Yes… the last click! The channel that produced the end conversion takes all the glory.

Why would you pick last click attribution?

This model is good for businesses that ultimately want to determine what channel is closing the sale. This is particularly useful when the buying cycle is shorter and the conversion comes soon after the initial touchpoint. One possibility could involve a sales promotion that stimulates an immediate action (Buy 1 Get 1 Free Today!).

Last Click is the most commonly used attribution model. This is mainly down to the fact that this is the default model used by Google Analytics & Google Ads. Be aware that this doesn’t mean it’s the right attribution to use.

 

First Click Attribution

How it works?

I know what your thinking…First Click Attribution sounds quite similar to Last Click Attribution. Well it is quite similar, except it’s exactly the opposite. All the credit goes to the channel that attracted the customer in the first place.

Why would you pick first click attribution?

This model is good for measuring the success of brand awareness from assigning credit to the campaign that caused the first interaction with the business. This information is handy to have as it can help a brand understand what channels are initially attracting customers.

As an example, if a clothing startup has set up some new marketing campaigns across a number of channels for a range of trainers and a customer first sees the product on a sponsored ad on Facebook, but ends up converting from a PPC campaign, this would give all the credit to the Facebook campaign. The brand can then generate a better understanding of what channels are attracting customers in the first place and focus the spend on those channels to continue to drive awareness.

 

Position Based (U-Shaped) Attribution

How it works?

Using a position based attribution model assigns more credit to certain stages within the buying cycle. Typically, both the first and last touchpoint receive 40% of the conversion credit each and the remaining 20% is assigned to every stage in between. This allows marketers to gain a solid understanding of where the leads are initially being generated, what the customers do after that and then finally where the conversion is made.

Why would you pick position based attribution?

Multi-touch attribution models work particularly well with B2B businesses that have a deeper understanding of their buyer journey. If the funnel is more complex and has several stages, this model supports the continuous development of each stage. This model can help determine where customers are drawn in, where they touch before converting and where they convert. This information can provide insights on whether a channel should have further investment or be dropped altogether.

Position based would be an ideal attribution model to use for a retail brand as the first & last interaction are the stages that help the business see what initially attracted the customer to the product and the point that pushed them through to purchase.

 

Linear Attribution

How it works?

A linear attribution model assigns an even amount of credit to every channel involved in the buyer journey. This model is good to look at when trying to develop a deeper understanding of the stages within the cycle. Linear attribution doesn’t help to determine which channels are the most influential, and for businesses with hundreds of touch-points, this can cause confusion when choosing which channels to focus on improving.

Why would you pick linear?

This model is good for marketers that want to develop a better understanding of the customers journey to conversion when there are just a few channels and touch-points with a shorter sale cycle. A linear model would also give some good insights when benchmarking against other attribution models to see what channels would get more credit when the full picture is considered over the stages that are considered more valuable.    

 

Time Decay Attribution

How it works?

Time decay attribution gives credit to every stage of the buying cycle with more value given to the stages towards the end of the journey. This is a good option if the buying cycle is long term time-wise, to gain a better understanding of what channels are pulling leads through to the final conversion.

Why would you pick last click?

If there are a lot of leads coming through the system and the buying cycle takes a while, this attribution highlights the stage that is impacting customers to push on to the end of the funnel. Focusing more on these channels might help to boost the speed to conversion for potential prospects. Time Decay is known as a lighter last click model. The credit stills goes to the stages towards the end of the funnel.

 

Data Driven Attribution

How it works?

Data driven attribution is a custom model that is bespoke to the business involved. This model requires continuous development and work to help it improve with a stream of fresh data moving in. If you have a good understanding of the buyer journey, the more influential channels can be given more weight when assigning conversion values, which is better than just offering more weight to first and last touches. This model involves more work from the users, with more demand for custom configuration.  

Why would you pick last click?

This model is only available to certain Google Ad accounts that meet specific conversion criteria. It works by analysing data points to determine what the specific weighting should be when a conversion occurs. By comparing click paths or customers who convert and those who don’t, the model determines patterns on the clicks that lead to conversions. It then distributes credit in favour of the converting Campaigns, Ad Groups, Ads & Keywords.

 

Some tips to consider…

What’s the goal?

Look to whatever it is you’re trying to achieve. What do you already know about your buying cycle? If you want to push your marketing efforts to create more demand, look to the data at the top end of the funnel. If you want to find out where the customers are converting, look at the bottom end. Remember, you’re not limited to one type of model so use the different models to their strengths, especially before making any important decisions.

How many touch-points do your customer usually travel through?

The more interactions your customers have before conversion will have an effect on the model that you choose. As an example, you wouldn’t opt for a Last Click attribution for a complex, long-winded buying cycle because it assigns no credit to the channel that initially attracted the prospect, or the stages in between that have nurtured the customer to the final stage.  

How long does it take for a lead to convert?

The more basic models (like first and last touch) fail to paint the full picture when it comes to longer sale cycles. If leads are taking a while to convert, it generally means that the route to the end is more complicated and leads may choose revisit the site several times and compare it against your competitors. There is more opportunity to use remarketing techniques for longer journeys.

Optimise the models to suit your business.

You’re not limited to to one model. Each type of attribution will offer different insights that will influence your marketing efforts. Look at the data you have to find out about your leads and how they interact with your business before converting. Find out what channels are creating demand, which are nurturing the prospects and then what’s finally pushing them through to conversion.