PPC Monitoring Tool Options

(that have nothing to do with spying on your competition)

How We Define PPC Monitoring

Analyzing the search results page for the query “ppc monitoring tool” surprised us.

As a company trying to rank for this search 😉, it was interesting to find so many “competitive intelligence” tools and articles.

It would seem PPCers are super interested in spying on their competition looking at the SERP:

^ SERP according to SEMRush in July 2019

Based on our team’s experience in PPC, we feel that people searching for monitoring solutions are really looking for what we describe as reporting and management tools. These are solutions designed to help automate tasks or detect anomalies in their data before something goes wrong.

Most marketers searching for PPC monitoring tools couldn't care less about exploring ways to view a bunch of ads from their competitors or a wild guess at someone else's ad budget.

Hopefully, that describes you.

If it does, read on for PPC monitoring, reporting and management tools that have nothing to do with spying on your competition.

PPC Monitoring Tools vs. PPC Management Tools

Trying to define what software solutions fall into what categories is part of what makes PPC software research so tricky. The definitions of monitoring, reporting, and management can mean different things to different people.

But in our view, a PPC monitoring tool is different from a tool that also offers PPC management capabilities. The important distinction for us is:

Can the tool push edits directly to ad platforms such as Google and Facebook?

If the answer to this question is “no", then we categorize that tool as a PPC monitoring/reporting tool.

If the answer to this question is "yes", then we categorize that tool as a PPC management tool.

We believe there is great value in campaign reporting and monitoring. You can do some super important tasks with these types of tools such as delivering client reports or getting alerts about spending spikes.

But PPC management tools allow marketers to push changes back to the ad networks directly from their user interfaces.

For example, you need to change a campaign daily budget from $50 to $80. A management tool allows you to make this change without having to log in to Google Ads while a monitoring tool does not.

PPC monitoring tools display data flowing out of the ad networks in dashboards or reports. Where these types of tools fall short is in being able to automate more complex tasks and actions. Digital advertisers still have to log in to each ad network directly to make edits to campaigns that the monitoring tool recommended.

For a lot of agencies we have worked with, monitoring isn’t enough. To scale efficiently, they need to automate tasks such as daily budget changes.

PPC management tools, by our definition, must have a two-way connection with ad networks. This enables a wider array of critical tasks to be automated and frees up PPC professionals to focus on more creative tasks.

Our hunch is that a lot of people like you searching for ‘monitoring tools’ want the ability to automate some of these tasks and need management solutions.

Why We Don’t Believe There is a “Best” PPC Tool

Do you need a monitoring tool? Or a management tool? What’s the best one out there?

Like many great questions in marketing, the answer is: it depends.

If you are managing one account for your company’s in-house campaigns, then a monitoring tool will probably do the trick. Why? It’s not a huge burden to click into the ad platforms to make changes to your campaigns when your reporting tool identifies something you need to address.

If you are an agency PPC marketer handling ad accounts for several clients, then you are likely going to want a management solution. A management solution can help you automate most of the manual changes you are making today based on your agency’s preset rules or best practices.

PPC marketing is an art and every situation is unique.

Therefore, we don’t believe there is any one “best” solution out there when it comes to PPC tools, just what’s best for you and your team.

We believe the best way to find your optimized tech stack is to do your research, test a bunch of tools, talk to the companies you are vetting and then decide.

So let’s get to the tools already!

PPC Management Tools (Third-Party)

Shape

This is us. This is why we care about this topic so much. We spend our days building our PPC budget management platform in order to solve problems for agencies managing client budgets at scale. We categorize ourselves as a management tool because our platform can take actions on behalf of analysts such as pausing campaigns before they overspend. If you are looking for a tool in the budgeting arena, we are probably a great fit. Not struggling with budgeting? Maybe one of these tools is a better fit for you.

Optmyzr

This is a PPC tool focused on optimization algorithms and reporting solutions. Optymzr is a management tool because you can create rules for the system to push changes back to the ad platforms.

Adstage

Similar to Optymzr, Adstage is focused on driving insights from PPC data and reporting on that data to clients.

Acquisio

This company is focused on using AI to drive its platform and reporting solutions. They were purchased by web.com in 2017 but still operate as a traditional SaaS tool.

Adalysis

Adalysis started with a focus on building A/B testing tools for ads. They have expanded into more optimization and reporting features since.

Kenshoo

They have a suite of products that range from reporting to management tools. (Note: Unless you have $3k+/month allocated to spend on PPC tooling, Kenshoo may not be a fit. Their products and pricing are designed for high volume accounts.)

Marin

Similar to Kenshoo, Marin has a suite of products that can help a PPC team get things done. Also similar to Kenshoo, their software products work best with high volumes and big budgets.

PPC Management (by Google)

Google Ads 360

Formerly DoubleClick search, Google Ads 360 is an “enterprise” tool to help marketers manage their campaigns. This is another product designed primarily for high volume accounts.

PPC Reporting Tools (Third-Party)

Supermetrics

Supermetrics is focused on delivering data from ad networks into Google Sheets and Data Studio. This is a popular solution for creating dashboards and basic monitoring tasks in custom sheets. If you have some skills with Google’s tech stack, it’s definitely worth exploring. Supermetrics is a great fit if you need monitoring/reporting and not automation that changes the status of campaigns or bids.

Report Garden

The name says it all. Report Garden focuses on reporting. If creating client reports is the biggest need you have then it’s worth taking a trial run.

Ninjacat

Self described as “reporting, monitoring, call tracking and data pipelines for agencies and media companies.”

Swydo

Focused on reporting/monitoring with their products and creating workflows based on the results of those reports. They are owned by DialogTech but operate as an independent business unit.

PPC Reporting Tools Only (by Google)

Google Sheets/Google Analytics/Data Studio

Google has been putting a lot of resources into their own reporting and monitoring product suite. If you only need to report on a few clients and the data groupings aren’t that complex, you might be able to combine these three products in a way that meets your needs. But, if you have been around PPC for awhile then you probably already know that. 😉.

Looking for inspiration on what's possible with Google's options?

Check out Sheets for Marketers.

PPC Monitoring Tools for Fraud Prevention

All of these products help you detect potential click fraud on your accounts.

Most of the tools have reasonable starting prices so we encourage you to do some tests on a client or two and compare the experience:

Click Cease

PPC Protect

Click Guardian

PPC Monitoring Tool for Trademark Protection

Brandverity Paid Search Monitoring

This tool serves an interesting niche: protecting your brand name online. If the system detects a trademark infringement or shady looking use of your brand name, then you’ll receive an alert and can take action.

Questions to Ask When Researching PPC Monitoring Tools

Choosing a PPC solution for your company is not a small decision especially when the cost could be thousands of dollars a month they need to feel confident in whatever direction you choose.

To help with your research, we compiled a big list of questions to ask any potential companies you decide to work with: Evaluating PPC Software.