The online AdWords interface contains a lot of tools that makes my life as an AdWords consultant easier and more pleasurable; letting me work fast and be able to find the data I need.
And improvements are constantly made in this area, last year the possibility to make bulk changes was added (increased my work speed), we had a whole new “opportunities” interface (a one-stop-shop when I need new ideas for improvements), a “display planner” (much nicer than the DoubleClick one). And many other great changes - thank you engineers!
However, for some functionality I need to go outside the AdWords interface and use external tools. Some complex programs, some just small applications - which however can save me hours of work time every week (!), or that even let me do things I can´t do in AdWords, nor in Analytics.
The external tools I use most when working with AdWords is AdWords Editor and MS Excel. They are great for most things - from building keyword lists, to creating ads and doing analysis. But they also have some limitations, and sometimes I just need a small application that doesn´t require me to start a desktop program or includes a ton of functionality that I might get lost in.
The list below includes my favourite external, small and free tools I use when working AdWords.
(prefer watching to reading? check out the video below)
1. Building keyword lists
Add, mix, duplicate and spit out in different match types. Can´t live without them!
I prefer the latter one because it has more functionality. But the Mixer is really simple, sometimes that´s all one needs.
2. Ad creation
It needs an update, but it works. Create an ad, copy it, make a small change, and keep going.
It lacks the possibility to create a massive amount of ads at once (Excel and Google docs is great for that), but you can always create a few templates here and import them to AdWords Editor and copy on scale in that application.
I also refer clients to this one when they´re gonna write some ads themselves. It often happens they write too many characters, but if they use this tool it will count for them and I don´t have to send ads back fore corrections.
As you can see on the website, Jumbo also has rather complex keyword tool. I seldom use it because i like Found (above) better, which is also more up-to-date (hrm, modified broad match has been around for a while now...),
I am surprised there aren´t any really good, free ad generator tools out there.
Or have I just not found them? Please tell me (or build your own : )
3. Split test calculators
What would I not pay (an arm? a leg?) to get a split test calculator in the AdWords interface.
Yeah, I know there is a functionality in AdWords that automatically shows the best performing ad more often, if you wish.
But I wanna be able to see exactly how big is the difference in performance between different ads. And to do that I need to run test manually in Excel or another external tool, such as the ones below. Time-consuming!
This one is really simple. Just add your numbers (you can write your impresssions under visitors and your clicks under goals if you wanna measure your CTR) and you´ll know what the conversion rate is for each group and if you have a winner (or how much more data you need if you do not have any).
Here is another one slit test calculator
4. Confidence interval calculator
This one is also great for calculating the effectiveness of ads (or landingpages or source or whatever) but is not designed specifically for that (so, in the form, instead of trials and success, write your impressions and clicks, or clicks and conversions).
What´s great is that it gives you numbers for with what confidence you can say how well something performs. It even gives you an interval for that, based on your sample size.
This is great for A/B-testing of course, but also if you wanna know by which certainty you can expect to see the numbers that you have for something also in the future. For example your CTR or conversion rate for a certain keyword or placement.
4. ROI and conversion rate calculators
To make calculations of the ROI (return on investment) of your AdWords advertising can be a complex task (and the topic for another article). You need to look at your own margins, sales volumes, order values, conversion costs, attributions channels, and so on.
For that you need tools like Google Analytics Attrbutions Modelling Tool and some spreadsheet skills.
But if you just need to do some quick calculations there are some nifty, simple tools available on the web, such as those from
They differ in respect to what figures you can use as input. So try em out and pick the one that suits your business the best.
I guess you´ve seen Google economist Harl Varian´s famous lesson on bidding - if you haven´t, head over there right now!
And then use this free calculator from Tenscores to get your value per click (it seems to be partly broke at the moment, so you won´t get the graph, but the figure for value per click is there)
More great tools (not so free)
I know there are a lot of other tools out there, many that might be better than the ones above. I have tested a few of them, but not enough to be able to recommend them. Most of the better ones are commercial, and they often come in bundles.
Anyway, you might wanna check out:
What´s your favourite tools? Share them below!
Self-taught webmarketer with a PhD in Intellectual history (focus on german philosophy and social sciences 1800-1900) Using AdWords since 7 years. Today working as an SEM-consultant. AdWords and Analytics Qualified.
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