The 7 Best SEM Tools You Need to Save Time & Money

The 7 Best SEM Tools You Need to Save Time & Money

Best SEM Tools
March 25, 2019

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 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 that can help any digital marketing analyst get ahead of the data analysis game for their clients.


1) Supermetrics

Our team is currently hooked on Supermetrics. This tool makes it easy to update client-facing reports quickly, so you can spend more time analyzing data, developing insights, and executing 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 awesome at providing lots of quick optimizations to help you grab the 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) AdBasis

Don’t like running ad copy tests or having to analyze all the variations yourself? You’re in luck. AdBasis eliminates most of the tedious work and deploys massive scale ad tests across counts in a breeze.

The interface is simple. It’s easy to launch a test across many ad groups while delivering the data in a digestible manner. This allows for much quicker analysis (and confidence!) than conducting an ad test through the native interfaces.

AdBasis breaks down the results per ad variation but also per variable, confirming which headline or description line works best--independent of the best ad. The multivariate testing options are endless, allowing for quick gains across all elements of the ad.

The coolest feature is the custom parameters, which allow for dynamically inserted elements into the copy or URL. These can display specifics such as pricing or state, which takes a lot of manual work off the plate of the advertiser.


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.



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

If you have any paid search questions, feel free to reach out to our team.


Director, Search & Social Advertising
Eric Yarnik is a Northwestern University Alum who considers writing the Perfect Search Ping Pong Power Rankings Column to be one of his favorite tasks at work. If he had to pick one fictional character to be friends with, it’d have to be the one who lives in a pineapple under the sea.

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