10 Best SEM Tools For Paid Search Strategy | Perfect Search

The 10 Best SEM Tools You Need to Save Time & Money

Best SEM Tools
March 25, 2019

Updated 4/29/2021

Every year in the digital marketing world, advertisers are provided with more and more data to help them reach goals for clients. While this data is great, it can also get overwhelming. Never fear! I'm here for you.

Along with more data to play with, there is also a multitude of SEM tools that can help advertisers optimize their job performance while becoming more efficient. (See what I did there? Classic PPC joke. Hope it converted well.)

Here are some of our team’s favorite paid search tools and SEM platforms that can help any digital marketing analyst get ahead of the data analysis game for their clients.

  1. Supermetrics
  2. HubSpot Ads
  3. SEMrush 
  4. Optmyzr
  5. Moat
  6. Optimizely
  7. Shape
  8. iSpionage
  9. Answer the Public
  10. Opteo


1) Supermetrics

Our team is currently hooked on Supermetrics. This tool for SEM makes it easy to update client-facing reports quickly, so you can spend more time analyzing data, developing insights, and executing a killer paid search strategy.

With Supermetrics, you can get a high-level pulse on a client's performance across all channels, like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, Bing, and reddit. With just a click of a button, you can check out spend, ROAS, conversions, and more across every channel a client is advertising on. This is a great time-saver since you don't have to download metrics from numerous channels. Instead, all data gets populated in one report.


2) HubSpot Ads 

You might know HubSpot from their plethora of useful blog posts, but have you heard of HubSpot ads? This tool is great for helping your customers move through their buying journey. 

HubSpot decided to build an ads tool into its core marketing tools. If you're a HubSpot user, you can use the Ads functionality to target and serve the right ad content to the right audience. It syncs with the HubSpot CRM, so you can pull data and emails and target them easily. 

Plus, since it's an extension of the rest of HubSpot's tools, it's easy to manage ads while you're managing other aspects of your marketing campaigns. 


3) SEMrush

SEMrush provides valuable insights that allow advertisers to create a strong base for their SEM account. The keyword analytics tool is the platform’s highlight. It provides keyword volume, CPC, and competition data for any keyword via a phrase match report and related keywords report, ensuring advertisers don’t miss out on a keyword. 

Competitive research is also easily conducted via the domain analytics tool, which produces traffic numbers, keyword targets, and current ads for any domain. Additionally, SEMrush tracks keyword rankings and scheduled reports for domains or keywords helping advertisers to be proactive with their accounts.


4) Optmyzr

Despite its lack of vowels, Optmyzr leaves no stone unturned. It’s an awesome SEM optimization tool o that helps you grab low hanging fruit within any Adwords account. This tool is all about saving time on tedious and complex reports, and allowing easy functionality to use that saved time to make optimizations.

In the “Data Insights” section, quick visuals of performance segments can be made actionable quickly. In addition, the quality score tracker, hour of the week analysis, and geo heat-map are all important reports for any account that can be made in a snap, saving analysts lots of precious time.

There is also a section for optimizations that can be made with one click, allowing analysts to make keyword and bid adjustments, A/B ad tests, and budget changes quickly. This section is based off extremely helpful reports made for you in the interface. Lastly, Optmyzr also has custom reporting options and templates, as well as enhanced scripts that can be run from the tool.


5) Moat

Want to know what your competitors’ display ads look like? Look no further than Moat! This handy tool is essentially a search engine for display ads. Just plug in the brand name, hit Enter, and peruse Moat’s library of ad creatives, both past and present. Moat also provides the dimensions and run dates for each ad shown.

Outside of competitor research, this SEM tool is also great for ad inspiration. Can’t figure out what messaging to use? Search for similar brands on Moat to generate new ideas.

While browsing display ads is free, Moat also offers a paid subscription that comes with video ad insights, email alerts, share of voice trends, and even an ad mockup feature.

It’s also worth noting that, post-Cambridge Analytica, Facebook released a similar free tool to enhance transparency across its ad platform. Check out the Facebook Ad Library here.


6) Optimizely

Optimizely is any conversion rate optimization junkie’s best friend. This is a fantastic A/B testing tool that does its best to cut out the development work of creating a test.

By placing the Optimizely code across the website, A/B tests can be launched from the platform itself. There’s no need for any development work prior to making a permanent change. Any goal or page event can be tracked and the tool displays performance changes (and winners!) in a clear and user-friendly interface.

This tool helps make you quick CRO gains while allowing even the most HTML-challenged people launch the on-page test they’ve been anxiously waiting for.


7) Shape

When it comes to keeping many clients’ budgets organized, this tool is an analyst’s dream. Shape syncs with AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook Ads to create one main hub where all budgets can be managed throughout the month.

If there are many channels across many clients to manage, this simplifies the process and provides slick visuals. This minimizes the quick (and, of course, accurate) math you do in your head when managing through the native interfaces. For me, the key features are the customized alerts and reports.

Shape will send emails notifying analysts whenever there is a certain percentage of budget left within or across campaigns, which drastically reduces the risk of going over-budget--any analyst’s worst nightmare.


8) iSpionage

A great tool for both paid search and SEO strategies, iSpionage gives you the intel you need to get a leg up on your competition. Officially marketed as a competitor research platform, this tool provides users with detailed information about your competitors' paid search strategies.

iSpionage provides weekly reports on what your competition is up to. The report provides data on your competitors’ ad copy, landing pages, promotions and offers, and average ranking for relevant keywords. Rather than searching this information manually, this tool is a great way to perform a thorough competitor analysis all in one place.

At only $59 a month, this tool is also an especially great option for smaller businesses or those looking to get started with SEM.


9) Answer the Public

Answer the Public is an easy-to-use keyword research tool that can assist in your paid search, SEO, and content strategies. This tool allows users to analyze keywords to see what questions people are asking across Google.

For example, searching for the phrase ‘coffee’ generates a satisfying diagram with the top Google searches related to coffee such as ‘where to buy coffee beans’ or ‘what are the best coffee grinders’. This gives you insight into what users are searching and how you can cater your PPC strategy to these common questions and bid on more relevant keywords.

A limited number of searches are free per day but Answer the Public also offers premium packages with additional features.


10) Opteo

Opteo is a great tool for users looking to simplify the overwhelming amount of data in Google Ads. This platform allows businesses to connect their Google Ads account to monitor performance and suggest data-driven improvements.

Some features include monitoring ad performance and issues in real time, controlling budgets across campaigns and keywords, and exploring data by segment to increase profitability and ROAS. Opteo can even be integrated with Slack to get regular updates sent to your business’s Slack channel.



From one analyst to another, trust me—you need to try incorporating these SEM tools into your search engine marketing workflow. You’ll save time, make your paid search campaigns more efficient, and get more done for your clients. It’s a win all-around. 


If you're looking for a team of experts to help you take your company's digital presence and SEM efforts to the next level, contact us! We love to help.

Need some help with your Amazon advertising? We've got you covered. Take a look at our guide for tips, tricks, & insights!

Director of Search & Social Advertising
Quinn, a Notre Dame alum, hails from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin (A.K.A. BROconomowoc, A.K.A. The Real OC). Though he’s not afraid to admit that he wants to swim in a pool of spaghetti noodles, his guilty pleasures are shower beers and The Bachelor.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Our digital marketing services will take your business to the next level.

Start your journey with a comprehensive site audit.

Call Email

Stay in touch with digital marketing & those who know it best.
Sign up for the Perfect Search newsletter.