Every day, I use these digital marketing tools and resources to help forecast, plan, implement, and optimize successful paid digital marketing campaigns.
This is by no means a complete list, but it includes a few of my favorites to get you started. I’m also including links to a couple great glossaries that can help cut through the digital marketing jargon.
I hope these resources are helpful, but if you’re still feeling overwhelmed, you can always get in touch. Thanks and enjoy!
- Forecasting Tools
- Benchmarketing & Performance Tools
- Efficiency Tools & Extensions
- Glossary of Terms & How To Resources
Google Ads Keyword Planner is a free tool for planning Paid Search text ad campaigns, building strong keyword lists, and getting your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns off to a great start. A free-to-use feature within Google Ads, its tools for generating keyword ideas and bid estimations can help you plan your marketing strategy. By using the Google Ads Keyword Tool, you can search for keyword and ad group ideas, see how a list of keywords might perform, and even combine keyword lists to create new ones. It can also help you choose competitive bids and budgets to use in your campaigns.
Campaign Planner is a standalone tool for media planners to draft, compare, share and buy media plans across Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network. Campaign Planner lets you:
- Create and save reach and frequency predictions
- Create multiple versions of a plan, and compare them to find the best settings for your campaign
- Share your plans in various formats including email, a preview link or .csv format
- Buy your plan in the updated Ads Manager
NOTE: Campaign Planner is still a relatively new tool and has not yet rolled out to all Facebook Ads accounts. It you can’t get to it by following the steps in the link above, you probably don’t yet have access yet. Just be patient or if you’re ready to start spending on Facebook and Instagram, just give us a call and we can try to pull some strings.
It may seem like you need an advanced math degree to calculate all of the input involved with digital marketing campaigns, but the Omni Calculator tool makes it quick and easy to experiment with different variable, assumptions, and budget to calculate your total cost, impressions, clicks, cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM),click-through rate (CTR), and cost-per-click (CPC).
BENCHMARKING & PERFORMANCE TOOLS
By default in Google Analytics your conversions or ecommerce transactions are credited to the last touchpoint or click that referred the user to your website before he or she converted. But what role did prior website referrals, searches, and ads play in that conversion? How much time passed between the user’s initial interest and his or her purchase? The Multi-Channel Funnels Report answers these questions and others by showing how your marketing channels (i.e., sources of traffic to your website) work together to create sales and conversions. For example, many people may purchase on your site after searching for your brand on Google. However, they may have been introduced to your brand via a Display image ad or social media post. The Multi-Channel Funnels reports show how previous referrals and searches contributed to your sales.
In addition to the Multi-Channel Funnels report, you can use the Google Analytics Model Comparison Tool to compare how different attribution models impact the valuation of your marketing channels. In the tool, the calculated Conversion Value (and the number of conversions) for each of your marketing channels will vary according to the attribution model used. A channel that predominantly initiates conversion paths will have a higher Conversion Value according to the First Interaction attribution model than it would according to the Last Interaction attribution model. You can compare up to three attribution models at once to understand how the value or credit given to each channel can vary, which can impact your digital marketing strategy and spend.
OWOX BI is a free tool that is designed to automate routine cost data import from numerous sources and make it handy for you to check the return on ad spend (ROAS) of all campaigns in a single place. This means that clicks, impressions, and cost data of your Facebook Ads campaigns can appear in Google Analytics reports, which enables you to analyze campaigns directly within the Google Analytics interface and easily see areas to increase their efficiency. The free version of OWOX BI only allows you to import cost data from two platforms (e.g. Facebook Ads and Bing Ads), but there are a variety of paid versions that can scale up with your business.
Google Search Console (GSC) is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor and maintain your site’s presence in Google Search results. You don’t have to sign up for GSC for your site to be included in Google’s search results, but doing so can help you understand how Google views your site and optimize its performance in search results. You can also use the information from GSC to supplement your Google AdWords research to determine the best keywords to bid on and the potential volume of searches for your product or service.
SEMRush is one of the market leaders in digital marketing software, including competitive data and performance tools that can help improve your search engine optimization (SEO), paid search, social media and more. Their suite of tools helps identify competition and market trends, determine a long-term content strategy for organic and paid research, and conduct an overall website analysis. We love SEMRush and have been a client for years, but we’ll also give a quick nod to MOZ, which is another great platform that provides similar data and insights. Both SEMRush and MOZ are paid services, but well worth their cost if you’re interested in digging into the data to improve your website and digital marketing campaigns.
Google PageSpeed Insights reports on the real-world performance of a web page for mobile and desktop devices and provides suggestions on how that page may be improved. As consumers continue to rely more and more on their mobile devices for researching and purchasing products, it’s crucial to improve the speed of website to provide the best possible user experience. Google also has a new version of their PageSpeed Insights tool that simulates the speed of your website on a 3G mobile device (rather than WiFi) in order to provide a true benchmark what mobile consumer experience.
Google Trends is a free tool that allows you to compare the popularity of search terms over time. With a variety of different features, it allows you to gain an understanding of the most popular search trends, including top geographies and related topics and search queries. From finding trending products to sell on your website to searching for social content ideas, the potential uses for Google Trends is endless.
NOTE: Google Trends doesn’t give actual search volume numbers, but instead shows a “normalized” or relative level of interest over time for a prospective keyword phrase. It also allows you to compare the level of interest between potential target keywords or search queries.
Brand Lift is a measurement of the direct impact your YouTube ads are having on perceptions and behaviors throughout the consumer journey. Within a matter of days, Brand Lift gives you insights into how your ads are impacting the metrics that matter, including lifts in brand awareness, ad recall, consideration, favorability, purchase intent, and brand interest, as measured by organic search activity. You can run brand lift studies from within your Google AdWords account when setting up YouTube campaigns.
A brand lift study on Facebook helps you understand how well your brand campaign resonated with people. Brand lift studies are free for qualifying campaigns, but must be created by a Facebook Account Representative so contact us if you’d like to discuss further.
WordStream a paid software as a service (SaaS) platform that helps you combine search and social campaigns into one easy-to-use interface, streamlining optimization across platforms. In addition, WordStream’s blog provides a ton of great information, including a couple recent benchmarking studies that provide industry averages for click-through rates (CTR), cost-per-click (CPC), and more on both Google AdWords and Facebook Ads:
- Google AdWords Benchmarks for YOUR Industry [DATA]
- Facebook Ad Benchmarks for YOUR Industry [New Data]
SpyFu exposes the search marketing secret formula of your most successful competitors.Search for any domain and see every place they’ve shown up on Google: every keyword they’ve bought on Adwords, every organic rank, and every ad variation in the last 11 years. Learn how to connect with these domains, too. Find online and traditional leads methods — social media, email, phone, and address — you can’t find anywhere else.
Alexa Top Sites is a web service that provides lists of websites, ordered by Alexa Traffic Rank. Using this web service, developers can page through lists of top sites and incorporate traffic data into their applications. In addition, the paid version of Alexa provides a host of additional SEO and Competitive Analysis Tools.
EFFICIENCY TOOLS & EXTENSIONS
Google Tag Manager (GTM) is a tag management system that allows you to quickly and easily update tags and triggers on your website or mobile app, without needing to update the code on your website. Using GTM you can add and update tags for all Google products like Analytics, AdWords, Firebase Analytics, Floodlight, as well as 3rd party or custom tags and pixels from Facebook, Pinterest, and other social networks. Overall, GTM is an amazing tool that frees you from having to involve a developer when setting up analytics tracking on your website and allows you to track a wide variety of actions, including sign-up forms, store locator uses, coupon downloads, and more.
There are a variety of great paid data visualization platforms on the market today (Tableau, Looker, etc.), but in terms of free tools, it’s tough to beat Google Data Studio, which helps turns your data into informative dashboards and reports that are easy to read, easy to share, and fully customizable. Regardless of whether you’re a business user or a data analyst, and no matter where the data lives, you can connect your data sources with the Data Studio connector. Data Studio then handles the authentication, access rights, and structuring of the data. Once a data source is connected, the underlying dimensions and metrics are readily available for use in calculations, transformations, and visualizations.
The Facebook Pixel Helper is a website browser extension tool that helps you validate and troubleshoot your Facebook Pixel implementation. works in the background of your website to look for Facebook pixels and provide real-time feedback on the implementation. A small number will appear on the Facebook Pixel Helper icon to indicate the number of pixels and pixel events. When clicked, a panel will expand to show a detailed overview of the page’s pixels, including warnings and errors for troubleshooting.
Tag Assistant is another extremely useful browser extension that helps you verify and troubleshoot implementation of a variety of Google tags, including Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, Google AdWords, DoubleClick, and more. Just navigate to any webpage, enable the extension, refresh your page, and Tag Assistant will tell you which tags are present, report any errors found, and suggest improvements that can be made. You can also use Google Tag Assistant recordings to record a typical user flow through your website and instantly validate, diagnose, and troubleshoot issues with your Google Analytics implementation.
Find employee email addresses for any company and display useful contextual data for anyone who emails you. Clearbit Connect puts the information of millions of companies and people at your fingertips, surfacing data on the people who email you in Gmail’s sidebar, and allowing you to find anyone’s business email with just a few clicks.
The Page Analytics Chrome Extension allows you to see how customers interact with your web pages, including what they click and don’t click. Use these insights to optimize your website layout, improve user experience, and increase conversions. When you view a web page for which you have Google Analytics access, you’ll see Google Analytics metrics: Pageviews, Unique Pageviews, Avg time on page, Bounce Rate, and % Exit Number of active visitors, and more.
Canva is a simple online tool to create great looking design assets for social media posts, print pieces, and more. It’s already a really robust free tool, but some of the add-on freemium options are worth the investment.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS & HOW TO RESOURCES
- The Ultimate List of Digital Marketing Terms (published by Geek Powered Studios)
- Digital Marketing Glossary 101: Words You Wanted to Know About But Were Too Afraid to Ask (published by AdAge)
- How To Resources
- Think with Google: An amazing and ever-growing interactive blog from Google full of the latest research and tools.
- YouTube Creator Playbook: A specific section of Think with Google on how to optimize and improve your YouTube performance.
- Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO: There a ton of great resources on improving your search engine optimization (SEO), but as a free and comprehensive resource, this guide from Moz is one of our favorites and is a great primer for anyone interested in improving their organic search visibility and website performance.
- Yoast SEO Blog: Yoast is a fantastic SEO plug-in that we use on the vast majority of our clients WordPress websites. In addition, the Yoast SEO Blog covers a ton of topics, including Content SEO, Technical SEO, Analytics, eCommerce and WordPress best practices.
- Traffic Masters Beginner’s Guide to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in 2019: Another great resource for those new to SEO, including a great, concise overview of the general principles and factors impacting performance.